Drunk­en­ness mars fes­tive sea­son

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Opinion -

drink­ing ex­ces­sively at any time and at all costs be­cause that leads to fi­nan­cial bank­ruptcy, phys­i­cal ill health in the form of con­sti­pa­tion, heart­burn, dys­pep­sia or all those con­di­tions com­bined, re­sult­ing in high blood pres­sure, being over­weight (even obe­sity), heart prob­lems and or other ail­ments caused by over-in­dul­gence.

Drink­ing in ex­cess has not only ad­verse phys­i­cal con­se­quences, but usu­ally, if not al­ways, also gives rise to neg­a­tive so­cial ef­fects such as vi­o­lent be­hav­iour re­sult­ing in crime that may lead to pros­e­cu­tion in law courts, and/ or in di­vorce, sui­cide or mur­der.

Thefts oc­cur at a much higher rate dur­ing the fes­tive sea­son, and so do di­vorce causes such as adul­tery, shame­ful or em­bar­rass­ing so­cial be­hav­iour or ut­ter­ances, cru­elty to or neg­li­gence of the chil­dren by one or both par­ents, and fi­nan­cial reck­less­ness.

It is im­por­tant that we should cel­e­brate mod­er­ately be­cause there is to­mor­row to take care of. To­day’s plea­sur­ing should not re­sult in to­mor­row’s sad­ness. We should al­ways cre­ate our good to­mor­row’s so­cio-eco­nomic con­di­tions to­day.

Road accidents claim a large num­ber of lives in Zim­babwe dur­ing the Christ­mas pe­riod than at any other time of the year. That is be­cause many mo­torists drink and drive, and some pedes­tri­ans drink and walk along or across high­ways.

Drunken pedes­tri­ans are very easy tar­gets of mug­gers, con­men, rob­bers, pick­pock­ets, rapists and mur­der­ers. It is most ad­vis­able to stay at home af­ter tak­ing a few drinks, es­pe­cially dur­ing this sea­son, and par­tic­u­larly at night when anti-so­cial peo­ple prowl and wan­der around look­ing for vic­tims to harm, rob or rape.

Mo­torists should all the time bear in mind that it is not only their lives that are in their hands but those of their pas­sen­gers as well.

Not only those lives, but those of other mo­torists and their pas­sen­gers. There are also pedes­tri­ans and stray live­stock to keep an eye on.

Stray live­stock as a road traf­fic ac­ci­dent causal fac­tor need to be dealt with by all those con­cerned with the coun­try’s daily ad­min­is­tra­tion.

We be­gin with vil­lage heads, head­men, chiefs, district ad­min­is­tra­tors and the Zim­babwe Repub­lic Police (ZRP). These com­prise law en­force­ment per­son­nel.

Those re­spon­si­ble for law en­act­ment are coun­cil­lors, Mem­bers of Parliament and Sen­a­tors.

For law en­force­ment to be ef­fi­cient, there has got to be ef­fec­tive laws, and for such laws to ex­ist, coun­cils, parliament and the se­nate have to be pro­fi­ciently rep­re­sented and ef­fi­ca­ciously run.

We are dis­cussing here the cal­i­bre of those rep­re­sent­ing wards (coun­cil­lors), con­stituen­cies ( MPs and Sen­a­tors). The higher their cal­i­bre, the more rel­e­vant, rea­son­able and re­al­is­tic will be their coun­cil by-laws to deal with live­stock that are a haz­ard to road and even to rail traf­fic.

The cur­rent sit­u­a­tion whereby live­stock (cat­tle and don­keys) roam and wan­der across and along high­ways, unat­tended caus­ing a great deal of con­cern to trav­ellers with­out the ZRP lift­ing a fin­ger is not ac­cept­able.

The ZRP should act against the live­stock own­ers es­pe­cially in view of the large num­ber of road-blocks the force has all over the coun­try.

Mean­while, vil­lage-heads, head­men and chiefs, sup­ported by coun­cil­lors, should be heard, loudly and clearly, telling the peo­ple in their re­spec­tive ar­eas to keep their live­stock away from pub­lic roads and rail­way lines.

For sev­eral, if not many fam­i­lies, past fes­tive sea­sons be­came un­for­get­table mourn­ing oc­ca­sions be­cause of road accidents many of which were caused by sheer hu­man er­rors and not me­chan­i­cal, tech­ni­cal or weather fac­tors.

Most of these hu­man er­rors were a re­sult of over in­dul­gence in in­tox­i­cat­ing bev­er­ages. If we could, each one of us re­alise that the con­sump­tion of in­tox­i­cants cre­ates more sad­ness than hap­pi­ness, more poverty than wealth, more so­cial in­se­cu­rity and in­sta­bil­ity than so­cial se­cu­rity and sta­bil­ity, we could lead much health­ier and hap­pier lives all round.

So­cial scientists have es­tab­lished that some of the fac­tors that gen­er­ate sad­ness amongst hu­man com­mu­ni­ties are caused by hu­man be­ings them­selves.

Those range from naked­ness, hunger, ill­ness, ig­no­rance, accidents, ex­po­sure, de­nial of one’s right to associate freely, and the right to worship or not to worship as and when one wishes, and the free­dom to ex­press one­self as and when one wishes. We should ac­knowl­edge that hap­pi­ness is by and large cre­ated by us. That is what they mean when they say “life is what you make it.”

We usu­ally cre­ate en­vi­ron­ments that make us vic­tims of neg­a­tive fac­tors, and one known way by which we do so is by the ex­ces­sive con­sump­tion of al­co­holic bev­er­ages, those de­stroy­ers of well-grounded love and ev­er­last­ing peace, of lives of in­di­vid­u­als and fam­i­lies, and of the wel­fare of com­mu­ni­ties and na­tions.

*Saul Gwakuba Ndlovu is a retired, Bulawayo-based jour­nal­ist. He can be con­tacted on cell 0734 328 136 or through

email. sg­wakuba@gmail.com

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