Social media has been abuzz with people, in particular, imbibers celebrating the availability of alcohol after President Mokgweetsi Masisi lifted the two-month-long alcohol ban in his recent address.
The sale of alcohol was prohibited from June 28, 2021, to counter spiralling COVID-19 cases that gripped the nation.
Following Masisi’s announcement, videos and photos circulated across social media platforms showing excited people applauding the President as they could not wait to quench their thirst.
Imbibers could not curb their enthusiasm to knock a few back despite the President issuing a strong message pleading with citizens not to flout COVID-19 health protocols that might lead to another ban on liquor sales.
Anticipating the worst, the police were on high alert, as tipplers kept them on their toes with large crowds bending their elbows in anti-social distancing behaviour.
Police raised their concern over the continued lack of adherence to the COVID-19 health and safety protocols amongst the drunk. They disclosed to The Monitor that they witnessed another side to alcohol drinkers, as they were all out to have fun despite the health protocols in place.
Mogoditshane Police Station commander, Superintendent Russ Letsebe said police in his area were on their toes as imbibers grouped themselves in front of bars and hosted chill sessions in homes and open spaces. He said after discovering police visibility on the ground some drinkers decided to host chill sessions at their homes instead, but they managed to identify the culprits.
“We managed to charge a number of them for disobeying COVID-19 protocols and curfew time restrictions. The situation was worse at Gakuto and Tsolamosese villages where compliance with COVID-19 restrictions remains at zero,” Letsebe said. “Patrol officers managed to interrupt chill sessions in homesteads and open spaces, but we only encountered a difficult situation in Gakuto after we caught a group of imbibers red-handed having fun, playing music loudly from cars in front of certain bar premises. Police tried to disperse them but the irate drinkers threw rocks at us, which ended up breaking the windows of our van.”
Even though the police boss was out of the office he said a number of people were arrested and charged for disobeying the regulations. Letsebe expressed worry stating to have established that some drinkers view their patrols as ‘harassment’ or a move to deny them their ‘right to have fun’ and ‘enjoy life’.
Tlokweng Police Station commander, Superintendent Unoziba Rari echoed Letsebe’s sentiments that it was a most unusual weekend as imbibers’ excitement was distinctive. Rari stated that imbibers were over-excited as it was noisy everywhere as people had hosted chill sessions at their homes.
“Some homes had turned into shebeens. A 39-year-old woman of Lesunyana ward operating an unlicensed shebeen was charged and fined after she was found in possession of 32 Black Label quarts, 25 Castle Lite, 11 Reds quarts respectively and 82 cartons of Chibuku,” he said.
Furthermore, Rari said they were investigating a bodily harm case in which a 28-year-old man sustained serious injuries after he was assaulted at a shebeen on Saturday.
He said the victim, who sustained a swollen head, is currently hospitalised and fighting for his life at Princess Marina Referral Hospital. Rari stated that investigations into the matter were ongoing to locate and arrest the suspects.
Gaborone West Police Station commander, Superintendent Knight Molosiwa also raised a similar complaint. He said police have been battling with imbibers who had grouped themselves in front of bars, hosted chill sessions at their homes and in open spaces. He also raised concern over people who continue to roam the streets after the 2200hrs curfew movement restriction time.