Rwanda National Police (RNP) held a meeting with owners of bars and night spots on Friday and discussed joint measures against drunk-driving, serving alcoholic beverages to minors and noise pollution.
The meeting, which brought together about 40 owners and managers of bars and entertainment spots in Kigali, was held at the RNP General Headquarters in Kacyiru and presided over by the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIGP) in charge of Operations, Felix Namuhoranye.
DIGP Namuhoranye urged them to “look beyond monetary gains” and “care about people’s lives.”
“Don’t just look at your business, the number of bottles one has emptied that day or night and how much money you have made; don’t have a drunk customer who will leave your premises to go and die in an accident or kill other people on the road,” DIGP Namuhoranye said.
He urged them to “be cautious and responsible” to prevent their customers from accidents caused by drunkenness and be good ambassadors of road safety.
“Police officers can’t be at all drinking joints, but you can equally play that part. Protect your customers; build a system where any of your clients will not drive when drunk. By protecting your clients you will be protecting your business as well, otherwise you will count how much you have made today and lose both people and money that would have kept coming, that way the country loses as well,” DIGP observed.
He warned that putting people’s lives in danger for personal gains will not be tolerated, and emphasized legal action against anyone found serving alcoholic beverages to those aged below 18 years.
“Serving alcohol to minors is a serious offense punishable by the law. In case you doubt the age of your customer, ask for their national identity card.”
The law relating to the protection of the child, in its article 27, states that a person, who sells alcoholic beverages or tobacco to a child, causes or encourages a child to drink alcoholic beverages, to smoke or to go to bars commits an offence.
Upon conviction, he or she is liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than three months but not exceeding six months and a fine between Rwf100, 000 and Rwf200, 000.
They were also reminded to pin “don’t drink and drive” and “It’s prohibited to serve alcohol to anyone below 18 years of age” posters in their joints.
Participants committed to working with the Police against drunk-driving and in promoting road safety in general.
At least 144 drivers were arrested last weekend after they were found driving while drunk. The alcoholic content of all the arrested drivers was way above the 0.8 maximum acceptable level of alcohol. More than 1170 drunk drivers were arrested between January and August this year, across the country.
Last month, five people lost their lives at the hands of drunk-drivers.
The meeting was in line with the ongoing 52-weeks of the national road safety campaign dubbed ‘Gerayo Amahoro’ launched in May. It also came at the time when Police has strengthened operations against drivers who drive under the influence of alcohol.