Kapiri Mposhi beer victims seek help

Victims who became blind after allegedly consuming an alcoholic drink under the label Jilijili Vodka in Kapiri Mposhi district early last year are seeking government intervention to facilitate their compensation by the manufacturer of the beer.

In April 2022 at least 20 people died while six survivors were left blind after allegedly consuming the alcoholic beverage manufactured by GSR Distillers based in Kabwe.

Two survivors who are completely blind as a result of consuming the jilijili vodka are appealing to government to intervene to ensure that the manufacturer of the liquor compensates them.

In an interview with ZANIS, Norton Mwamba, 27, one of the victims, complained that the matter has gone quiet despite the manufacturer being found liable following tests conducted on the liquor brand in question.

Mr Mwamba stated that due to the blindness he and others affected by the beer could not fend for themselves.

” We want help from government to make the manufacturer of that beer to compensate us and other people who died after drinking the beer, it has taken time it is now about 10 months,” Mr Mwamba said.

Victor Sakala, 26, another victim complained that he was failing to provide for his family as he could not work due to his visual impairment.

According to a Certificate of Analysis by the Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS) and Zambia Medicine Regulatory Authority (ZAMRA), the death of about 20 people and cases of blindness in Kapiri Mposhi district after consuming the Jilijili Vodka was as a result of the abnormal presence of a combination of methanol and ethanol in the alcohol.

Revealing the findings of the toxicology analysis to Kapiri Mposhi Town Council and Ministry of Health in June 2022, Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary, Technical Services, Lackson Kasonka directed authorities in Kapiri Mposhi to take necessary action in the matter to redress the situation.

” The sample analysis results showed that the jilijili vodka contained both methanol and ethanol. The presentation of the patients including the bad outcome is because of the methanol which is contained in this alcohol. We forward the analysis results for your further action,” Dr Kasonka said.

Consumers suspected to have died after drinking the Vodka presented signs of blindness and unconsciousness before dying.