Alcohol industry's stifled cry

Staff Writer
It is a tough call telling the king that he is very unfair and wrong in his analysis of a given issue. If you were to do it you would crawl to him and in the most humble way, with your face to the floor, ask his majesty if it is possible for him to reconsider the issue.

Even then you can not be sure if he understands you; for all you know your rattling on is a waste of his time. Or worse he could sentence you to death for complaining. 

This is the position the Botswana Alcohol industry finds itself in. Following the passing of a number of moratoriums regarding for example the number of hours of operation for establishments selling alcohol, the banning of the sale of alcohol in homes and the raising of the alcohol levy, the industry's leaders must find themselves at their wits' end.

This is more so as they have tried negotiating with government then appeasement measures such as putting up anti-drunkenness billboards and anti-drunkenness seminars, all to no avail.

Now the industry is playing the abused child who takes blame for everything and anything. The industry through its chairman, Thapelo Letsholo this week issued a press release, where they 'argue' their case.

The release carries the unmistakable tone of an abused child who implores her tormentor to consider the fact that some children have been participating in creating the mess in the house, that in fact the other children are the ones who caused most of the mess, including breaking the DStv decoder and the TV set. The industry says in its press release that the merchandise it manufactures is among the lowest causes of road accidents and that only a small number of people drink and

drive.  But it goes about it in a most diplomatic, remorseful, gingerly fashion.

"The Botswana Alcohol Industry Association is pleased to note that drunken driving continues to be one of the lowest causes of road traffic accidents in Botswana, the organisation is equally concerned that a small number of people still continue to entertain this behaviour.

According to a Botswana Police Report for the 2009/2010 Festive Season and Easter Holiday, 104 out of 12,343 of the traffic offenses recorded during the period under review were for drunken driving, representing 0.8%," reads the press release.

The press release goes on to state that road accident causes that contribute and also surpassed drunken driving include talking on cell-phones while driving, careless driving, driving without a driver's license and speeding.

" The Botswana Alcohol Industry Association encourages the public to desist from drinking and driving to significantly reduce or eliminate this as a cause of road accidents," says the press release. When Mmegi pointed out to him that they are essentially complaining in the press release Letsholo was non-committal, but his answer itself seemed like a complaint - a polite one at that:

" All we are saying is that as a nation we need to look broadly at what could be the real and major causes of road traffic accidents and not blame any one issue alone lest we fail to deal with the other issues," he said.



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