Fourteen bars in different parts of the country are being investigated by law enforcement agencies while owners or managers of some of them have arrested for serving alcoholic beverages to minors.
During the weekend operations by the Police and local leaders, 29 children were found in bars drinking alcoholic beverages.
The operations were in line with the implementation of the law on child protection, with focus mainly on bars and entertainment spots serving alcohol to minors as well as child labour.
Article 3 section 6 of the law No. 71/2018 of 31/08/2018 relating to the protection of the child, defines a child as “any person under eighteen (18) years of age.”
In its article 27, paragraph 3, the same law says that any 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.
At least three bars were closed in Kigali and one bar manager arrested after seven children were found taking alcoholic drinks.
The closed bars in Kigali are Service Club located in Muhima, Nyarugenge District; Carioka in Nyarugunga, Kicukiro District and New Hirwa in Remera, Gasabo District.
The arrested bar manager is Innocent Ndayisenga of Service Club.
In Ngororero District, the proprietor of Tama-Tamu Bar, Silas Ngendahimana was arrested after Police and local leaders found four minors in his bar drinking.
Claudine Nikuze and Ziripa Nyiranshimiyimana were arrested in Runda and Rukoma, respectively, in Kamonyi District after four children were found taking alcohol; Fils Uzamukunda of Rwamiko of Busanze, Nyaruguru District was also taken into custody after he was found serving alcohol, including illicit drinks to students of Groupe Scolaire Rwamiko, while Jean Baptiste Bihoyiki was apprehended in Mata also in Nyaruguru where minors were served alcoholic drinks.
In Musanze District, Police are still searching for one Esperance Muzirankoni, who fled after six children, including one aged 12, were found in her bar--Chez Esperance Muzirankoni—located in Muhoza Sector drinking alcohol, with some of them already drunk.
Rwanda National Police spokesperson, Commissioner of Police (CP) John Bosco Kabera warned owners of bars, night clubs and other joints that sell alcohol against “destroying children.”
“Children are protected in all ways and that includes protecting them against alcohol and child labour; we appeal to the general public to respect the law and desist from such unlawful acts,” CP Kabera said.
During the weekend operations, four other people were arrested in Kamonyi and Nyaruguru for employing children. The duo was using minors to fry and sell pork.
“It’s a combination of operations and awareness; we are engaging owners of bars and entertainment spots to emphasize this and ensure that messages related to child protection are pinned in their premises, and these include messages prohibiting people from driving while drunk, which is risky to oneself and other road users,” CP Kabera said.
About 90 drivers were also arrested over the weekend after they were found driving while drunk.
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 recommended maximum of alcoholic content is 0.8.