Another video of minors drinking beer circulates on social media

Defence Minister Cde Oppah Chamu Zvipange Muchinguri-Kashiri

HOURS after the Government issued a stern warning to drug dealers and bootleggers to desist from supplying minors with intoxicating substances or risk severe punishment, yet another video of minor children drinking alcohol, this time involving girls, has gone viral on social media.

Through their X handle, police yesterday said the incident was filmed at Juru Growth Point in Murehwa recently and involved six girls and a boy.

The identities of the seven children and their parents had already been ascertained and they were now receiving counselling from the police’s Victim Friendly Unit (VFU), in conjunction with the relevant Government departments.

This comes a week after another video of young boys drinking alcohol in central Harare was filmed by a concerned citizen before it went viral on social media.

Although the ages of the children were not revealed, they look younger than 18, the legal age at which one is allowed consumption of alcohol.

“Reference is made to social media videos which went viral and showed some young girls drinking beer at a shopping centre in the country.

“The ZRP has established that the place is Juru Growth Point, Murehwa. The ZRP has identified and located the six young girls and one boy,” police said in a statement.

The latest video has increased calls for authorities, particularly the Liquor Licencing Board (LLB), to descend hard on alcohol suppliers flouting laid down regulations.

It is illegal for liquor suppliers to sell alcohol to anyone below 18.

Last month, LLB warned that many bottle stores around the country could fail to have their operating licences renewed this year as it was reviewing the process to weed out those flagged for various infractions over the years.

LLB said the renewal of liquor licences was not going to be automatic as it sought to bring sanity in the distribution trends in the industry.

On Tuesday, the Government issued a stern warning to drug peddlers, especially those that target minors, that more deterrent measures were being lined up in addition to naming and shaming the culprits.

In a statement, National Committee on Drug and Substance Abuse Chair Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, who is also Defence Minister, said the Government had been greatly disturbed by a video which recently went viral on social media showing minors drinking alcohol in central Harare.

She vowed strong action against drug and substance abusers in the New Year.

“Reference and follow-up is made to the December 27, 2023 statement issued by the Zimbabwe Republic Police, the Chair of the Supply Reduction Pillar of the National Committee on Drug and Substance Abuse, regarding police investigations into the social media video that went viral on December 26, 2023 showing minors drinking alcohol in Harare Central Business District.

“The National Committee on Drug and Substance Abuse would like to inform the public that in addition to naming and shaming drug peddlers, more measures are being put in place to strengthen the identification and punishment of drug peddlers especially those targeting minors. Be warned!

“This message serves as a New Year warning to drug peddlers – the law is coming after you! No stone will be left unturned in 2024 to hunt you down.

“The Committee is also appealing to all parents, guardians, and community members at large to be vigilant, cooperate, and increase supervision and child protection measures against drug and substance dealers who prey on minors.

“It takes a village to raise a child. In the ongoing fight against drug and substance abuse, collaboration is essential. Let us safeguard our young ones.

“Those battling with drug and substance abuse must be supported by referring them for treatment and rehabilitation.

“They must be embraced in our communities (reintegration) and should not be victimised or stigmatised. For further assistance, contact the National Committee on Drug and Substance Abuse on the toll-free line: 0714 647 002,” said Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri.

The video of the minors drinking alcohol was reportedly recorded on Christmas Day and went viral on social media, sparking widespread outrage.

In a statement last week, police said they had ascertained the identities of the minors aged 13 and 11 years. Their parents had also been identified and located.

According to the police, the kids’ parents separated in November 2022, and the mother got custody of the children.

The two boys live with their mother in Epworth, but at the time they were seen in public drinking alcohol, they had run away from home to beg and vend in the city with other street kids.

The video was shot and circulated by a concerned citizen at corner Mayor Urimbo Terrace and Robert Mugabe Road with the person being interviewed by police as part of investigations.

A suspect has already been picked up on allegations of having supplied the alcohol to the minors.

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