Upombe wa Chuka

Awareness Alcoholic Drinks Control Act

According to the research findings on average 94% of the respondents are aware of the existence of the Alcoholic Drinks Control Act. 98% of the respondents who are aware of the act refer to it as the Mututho Laws. Teachers in rural areas of Chuka exhibited the highest rates of awareness at 96%, Peasant farmers 92%, Traders 95%, and casual laborers at 93%, others 94%. These findings indicate that many of the rural people in Chuka have an idea about the existence of the act and are aware that it is in force. The awareness rate of the Act is very high to the extent that the residents of Chuka actually refer to the act as Mututho laws. Implication of this finding is that the residents may not be accurate in their knowledge of the legislation but the fact that it is in existence and they are privy to that goes a long way in making the foundation of the law be operational to achieve its intentions in control and management of alcoholic consumption.

Respondents Grasp of the Content of the Act

All the 94% respondents who demonstrated that they have knowledge of the existence of the act did not show any concrete indication of having fully grasped the content of the Act. They were aware that the law was aimed at controlling alcohol use in the society but they are not privy to the contents of the Act. For peasant farmers, 55% indicated they had an idea about the content, but only 14% of peasant farmers interviewed showed adequate knowledge about the content of the act.  Traders and merchants were 64% who had a general overview of the content but only 48% were sufficiently privy to the content of the Act. Casual laborers had the highest ignorance rates, with only 30% showing they had a rough idea about the actual content of the law, but those with accurate information about the Act’s content was only at 9%. 75% of the teachers showed that they had an idea of the content of the law. Only 25% demonstrated they had adequate knowledge of the Act and its content.

This shows that more needs to be done in making people in Chuka have a clear understanding of the law by being informed of its content. For the law to be effective, its operationalization requires that awareness of the Act be furthered by ensuring people actually know the basis of the law, its requirements and intentions. To be aware of the law alone is not enough in meeting its objectives. Despite the mantra ignorance is not a defense in law, without a clear understanding of the basic principles embodied in the act will render its full implementation problematic and adherence to it may not be fully realized with the current state of high ignorance of the actual content of the legislation.

Strategies to Curb Drinking as Proposed by the Law

The research study evaluated the responses and determined that all the respondents who were aware of the existence of the act knew that the law intended to curtail excessive drinking. In terms of knowing the objectives of the Act, many respondents could not spell out the strategies that the Act proposes to curb the use of alcohol in the country.

In listing the strategies aimed at control of alcohol consumption, the respondents who knew the contents of the law gave priority to the element of barring minors from accessing alcoholic drinks. They cited the time when alcohol should be sold during the day, the ban on children from being present in Alcohol selling points and from being employed or used in the dispensing of alcohol to consumers. Schools location and alcohol dispensing points was noted as important. It is important to note responses on the other strategies such as display of information on alcoholic drink packages, packaging of alcoholic drinks, license issues were barely touched on by the respondents. One aspect where the respondents showed ignorance of the law was that only 15.5% of all the respondents mentioned the issue of debts being prohibited in the purchase of alcohol. In the research, the element of debts contributes to the nature of gender relations within the family. In this aspect, the Act has failed to achieve its objective

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