An 11 year old boy, identified as Humphreys Chipeta, has died after drinking five bottles of locally brewed beer popularly known as ‘kachasu’ or ‘Jada’ at a liquor contest show in Mzimba District .
The boy who, according to his peers, was an avid drunkard had reached finals of the contest when he collapsed.
The beer downing competition which was pegged at MK20,000 had been raised amongst all fierce boozers in the area and was organized for boys under the age of 14, according to our source.
“The contest was in categories. They took ages used in football like under 14 to under 21 then the seniors,” said Emmanuel Chirwa, an eye witness.
He added: “It usually happens and the deceased boy was a defending champion. We suspect foul play on the death. Otherwise, he was not just an amateur boozer.”
Some of the rules of the contest, according to Chirwa, included the mandatory contribution of contest fee of MK1000 and eating before beginning the gambling.
“So, he didn’t die because he didn’t eat before beginning the contest. They all ate before the contest. Something went wrong,” claimed Chirwa.
The illicit contest which was held in Chimbongondo area, traditional authority Kampingo Sibande in Mzimba exposed how under aged children are still drinking like fish across the country.
Child protection officer for the area, Shanks Nkhata, promised that he was following up the matter with interest and will soon engage chief to ban brewing of Jada in the area.
“We hear the child was in Standard 7 at Kafulufulu primary and with schools on corona break, he turned into an avid drunkard. It is only him, I know. There are many more and, I’ll follow up on that to curtail the problem,” he said.
Some children’s rights organizations have asked for more time to comment on the incident since they are reported to be gathering information from other relevant stakeholders in the child protection drive which is said to be meeting numerous challenges