ARUA. With several flops to enact alcohol control in Uganda, Arua has moved ahead of Parliament of Uganda by officially launching her Alcohol Control Ordinance 2019 to regulate alcohol consumption in a move to combat Gender-based violence (GBV) in the district.
Officials say alcohol has been the core factor fueling GBV as several men spend more on alcohol and fail in home responsibilities.
Other documents that were launched on Monday also to coincide with the beginning of 16 days of activism include, the five-year local action plan on GBV, the national policy and Action plan on GBV and the GBV Network magazine.
The executive director of RHU, Mr Jackson Chekweko lauded Arua district local government for initiation of the ordinance that he said will play a critical role in the fight against GBV.
Chekweko said alcoholism is the leading factor affecting development in many global countries like Uganda because alcoholics invest in drinking more than caring for their families, something that eventually leads to disagreements between couples.
“Alcohol is the main obstacle to development in any country. Not only does it drain resources of an individual, but it also takes the most valuable part of a person which is time”, He said.
He encouraged police to hold accountable perpetrators of GBV so that justice is delivered to the victims, which in most cases are the women and girls in the communities.
He pledged support of RHU in committing itself to support Arua district in the implementation of the ordinance and also called upon Office of Prime minister (OPM) to work with RHU in averting GBV among refugees in West Nile, a vice which he said is common in the camps.
The assistant chief administrative officer (ACAO) of Arua district, Mr Simon Ababo said the district is ready to implement the ordinance with the help of parish chiefs in accordance to section 11 of the ordinance that stipulates roles of a parish chief.
West Nile regional Police commander (RPC), Mr Christopher Barugahare called upon women and girls to quickly report GBV cases to police for a quicker solution.
He identified challenges facing Police efforts in averting GBV as fear among victims in reporting such cases to police as well as a new directive where police first investigate such cases before arresting the suspect.
Arua district deputy Resident District Commissioner, Ms Alice Akello, however, blamed the cultural institutions for not discouraging forceful marriages among young people for the sake of dowery.
She also blamed some women who have misunderstood women empowerment hence disrespecting their husbands hence resulting in GBV.
Among other sections of the Alcohol Control Ordinance 2019, section (5) requires any person dealing in alcohol in Arua district to register with the district commercial officer before distribution sale, transit, and consumption.
According to section (6), the commercial officer shall issue licences to bars and restaurants across the district for legal considerations and Section (8) requires persons dealing in local brewing to register with their village chairpersons where they clearly state the type of alcohol they produce.