RWANDA – Rwanda National Police has announced a crackdown on liquor stores and groceries in Kigali that have unlawfully transformed into bars, causing noise pollution and violating licensing regulations.

Inspector General of Police Felix Namuhoranye made this announcement during a press conference on October 4.

He emphasized that these businesses, which originally held licenses as liquor stores or groceries, had illegally converted into bars.

He expressed concern about the presence of officials among those operating these unauthorized establishments, highlighting the need for strict enforcement.

He referred to the ongoing crackdown operation as a strong measure against such businesses, warning owners that law enforcement agencies would take action.

Namuhoranye urged members of the media to support the ‘TunyweLess’ (Drink Less) campaign against alcoholism.

The police chief expressed his concerns about the impact of uncontrolled alcohol consumption on the younger generation, warning that it could lead to severe consequences in the next decade.

While advocating for responsible drinking and promoting a healthier lifestyle, he acknowledged the challenge of balancing individual freedom and public health.

Earlier this year, Rwanda’s authorities introduced a regulation requiring night-time businesses to close by 1 AM on weekdays and 2 AM on weekends. This measure aimed to address noise pollution issues and encourage healthier living.

Namuhoranye also issued a stern warning to bar owners who lacked soundproof systems and allowed customers to cause noise pollution during working hours, emphasizing that such behavior would not be tolerated by the police.

This followed a similar development in Zimbabwe where the Liquor Licensing Board issued a warning to certain bottle stores and retail liquor outlets for non-compliance with their licensing conditions.

The board’s action came in response to reports of these establishments opening early, closing late, permitting customers to consume alcohol on their premises, and offering entertainment, potentially in violation of their licenses.

In a statement, the board emphasized the importance of liquor operators understanding and adhering to the terms and conditions of their licenses to avoid conflicts and legal repercussions.

The board urged members of the public to report non-compliant liquor outlets, emphasizing the need for adherence to licensing regulations and responsible alcohol-related practices.