Wednesday 17th January 2018

Pastor Choolwe Concerned By Mwale’s Claim That Alcohol Drives Zambia’s Economy

Gospel Envoys presiding Pastor Choolwe has condemned the move by the government to ban Churches in Cholera hit areas from gathering.

Pastor Choolwe was reacting to a statement by Local Government Minister Vincent Mwale who explained that bars cannot be closed entirely because alcohol turns the wheels of the Zambian economy.

In a statement posted on his Facebook page, Pastor Choolwe accused the government of serious double standards in the way it handled the issue.

He said if Churches are to close because of Cholera, bars should also close.

Below is his statement

As if mere logic on churches vs bars closing was not enough I took my morning to read up interrelations between alcohol and development. Many of our fathers have spoken from the spiritual but like Daniel let me also bring in the intellectual.

ALCOHOL IN THE LONG RUN ACTUALLY DAMAGES THE WHEELS OF THE ECONOMY.

I particularly read the International Journal on Alcohol and Drug Research which is highly respected. They did a research on Alcohol and its impact on the development process and their key findings all point to the fact that the two are INVERSELY RELATED.

1. Alcohol has an impact on the health side in that it comes with several alcohol related illnesses hence increasing medical costs overtime

2. Alcohol is seen to be inimical to development. statistics show that abstinence levels from alcohol are higher the more developed a nation is….

3. Alcohol is a driver of surrogate costs such as accidents in homes , damage to property and infrastructure and even accidental loss of life.

4. Alcohol increases the cost of security and enforcement agencies by the sheer need to deploy personnel the most likely crimes drunk people will commit arising from the loss of judgment arising from its consumption . Such maybe as simple ad driving while drunk, trespass to serious loss of property and lives

Summary is that the consumption of alcohol is highest in less developed societies.

Are we so addicted or do we so depend on it for our economy that we would rather see patrons die due to cross contamination in packed bars; some without running water and with below par sanitary facilities?

THE VOICE OF THE CHURCH IS MORE CRITICAL BECAUSE IT TURNS THE WHEELS OF THE HEARTS AND MINDS OF THE PEOPLE. BARS WILL NEVER DO THIS. AND AT THIS STAGE WE NEEDED THE VOICE OF REASON AND MORAL CONSCIENCE.

Some of us accepted in good faith to work on our sanitary systems first and resume meetings when all is in place. But to leave bars open DAILY is seriously double standards.

I was comforted yesterday when I was told that bars would open on a takeaway basis and not people gathering but after I heard the minister in the evening, I buried my head between my palms.

For all we know most bars drive the wheels of private economies and not the national economy. Alcohol contributes highest in some economies because of the high duty and taxes imposed on it as a way of discouraging its consumption.

There are better wheels that farmers who can’t trade in markets currently due to cholera drive, there are better wheels that the vendors in the streets, the shops and eating places that were all closed drive.

But we all know that on a normal day these places are better hygiene wise than a typical bar in Zambia. Bars should have been universally shut and opened afterward.

A drunk person will be very careless with their health no matter how you educate them. Anyway put a curfew in Kanyama but Kanyama alcohol consumers will spread it to all bars daily between 11 hrs and 18hrs.

And who needs to celebrate by taking alcohol when we are practically in mourning?

Where is Ministry of Religion and National Guidance? I thought their mandate includes guidance in such matters? People are mourning. Our hearts are all sad.

Who goes rejoicing in a bar at 11 Hours? Zambian Breweries and all beer manufacturing companies should come out straight and give guidance. One week’s business to ask all bars to clean up like churches are cleaning up will not close your businesses.

Some are claiming that churches don’t pay tax so they should close. What kind of reasoning is that? Does Cholera select whether you are a taxpayer or not?

Or are we saying the eating places and shops which were earlier closed don’t pay tax? What about private schools where the salaries of the teachers may not be paid this month (subject to policy)?

And by the way how much do you pay when you bring your dead for us to bury them? Who pays for all the counsel and prayers we daily provide to different citizens of the land? Let us focus on cholera and not none issues. Close the bars

When the economy needed rains to turn its wheels, it is the church which was called to pray so today we are being indirectly told that our role does not turn the wheels of the economy? This has been a very hard slap in the face of the church.

We are not asking for churches to carelessly meet without taking precautions but for honesty where bars are concerned. Lives in the bars matter just like lives in a church.

I am extremely sad.

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