A police operation conducted Friday night in Gasabo District arrested four bar owners for allegedly serving alcoholic drinks to minors.
At least eleven minors, majority girls were found taking alcoholic beverages in fours bars whose owners have been arrested.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government, Odetta Uwamariya, while speaking to journalists at Kigali Metropolitan, yesterday, where the suspects were paraded, said that serving alcoholic drinks to minors had raised concern.
“This Rwanda National Police operation, therefore, came as a reaction to a security meeting held on May 9 that raised concerns of minors in bars. It is illegal to give alcoholics to minors, and it’s an act we will jointly fight,” the Permanent Secretary said.
“If your child is not at home, he or she should be at school or somewhere in a legal place but not in bars or night clubs,” she added.
Rwanda National Police (RNP) spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Theos Badege warned that operations will continue across the country to enforce the law.
Article 219 of the penal code stipulates that “any person who offers or sells alcoholic beverages or tobacco to a child or involves him/her in the sale of such products shall be liable to a term of imprisonment of at least three months but less than six months and a fine of Rwf300, 000 to Rwf1 million or one of these penalties.”
A child, according to the law, is “every human being aged under 18 years unless otherwise provided by other.”
“Bar owners are instructed to pin posts in their pubs indicating that it’s against the law to serve alcohol to minors. These operations were conducted countrywide are aimed at ensuring maximum respect of the law,” ACP Badege said.
According to the spokesperson, every child caught in bars will only be handed over to parents or guardian after committing to take responsibility over their children.
Dr. Claudine Uwera Kanyamanza, the Executive Secretary of the coordinator of the National Commission for Children strongly condemned bar owners, who give access to unaccompanied minors and serving them alcohol beverages.