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Illicit waragi distilling resumes in Mbale despite ban

Woman selling illicit waragi.

Mbale, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Illicit waragi distillers in Musoto Mbale City Industrial division have resumed their operations two months after Mbale city environment authorities stopped their activities. The city authorities banned the distilling of illegal alcohol in August 2022 to curb water pollution and poor garbage disposal.

However, the distillers have resumed their operations, saying it is the only source of their survival. Betty Auma, a distiller said that she has children to feed and the only business that can generate some income for her household is the distillation of the waragi.

She wants the government to consider establishing for them an alternative business before imposing a ban on their operations.

Martha Nafuna, another distiller said that she decided to distill the alcohol despite the ban following hardships in sustaining her family, paying Loans, school fees, and rent.

Difas Okello, another distiller said that most of the distillers have loans that need to be cleared and there is no way they can pay without distilling the illicit gin that generates some money. “We know it is illegal but there is nothing we can do apart from having the business run,” he said.

Mary Among, another distiller says, the city authorities should consider distilling illegal alcohol as the only business that feeds mostly the vulnerable families in Musoto. The Mbale City Environment Officer, Rhoda Nyaribi says that they gave guidelines to the distilling community but they defaulted, which prompted the Authorities to ban their operations/ Nyaribi said that they are going to take action against the distillers who have violated the guidelines and resumed operations.



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