Violent behaviour in and around pubs, night clubs and bars in Dar Es Salaam, the capital of Tanzania, presents a significant public health, criminal justice and urban management problem. A new survey shows that alcohol fueled violence often occurs in these environments.
Tanzania Media Women Association (TAMWA), an IOGT International Member Organization, conducted a survey on violence in nightlife alcohol use environments. Findings show that violence in the night-time typically involves young males and females who are under the influence of alcohol in the majority of cases.
Most incidents are alcohol-related, when either the perpetrator, the victim or both are under the influence of alcohol.
Alcohol a burden on nightlife in Tanzania
It has been established that most offenders were under the influence of alcohol. Any behaviour committed in the context of alcohol consumption, violent or otherwise, results from interaction between factors relating to the individual, to the immediate environment and to the alcohol consumed.
A survey that examined most night clubs in Dar Es Salaam shows that 17% of youth aged 18 to 24 reported feeling very binge alcohol use at least once per month and had committed violent criminal acts while intoxicated. Binge alcohol users were also five times more likely than “regular alcohol consumers” to have been involved in a group fight in public.
Concerns about violent and disorderly behavior in town and city centres are often articulated with regard to the negative impact it has on the nightlife and the so-called “night-time economy”. The night-time economy is a setting in which violent crime commonly occurs. Incidents are often clustered within small, well-defined areas of late night entertainment centres and can sometimes be linked to specific premises.
Harmful alcohol norm and myths
Using alcohol, many men expect to feel aggressive and more powerful. They are also often using alcohol to facilitate or excuse their anti-social behavior.
Evidence also shows that most of the perpetrators of violent acts are in fact seeking out venues that tolerate inebriation and aggression and the presence of similar individuals may reinforce their attitudes and behaviours. Moreover, myths about alcohol spread by the alcohol industry make people believe that alcohol consumption leads to lowered inhibitions and violence.
The survey also shows that some night clubs are more likely to be affected by violence than others. There, for instance, a lot of unofficial nightclubs and pubs in residential areas in many parts of the city in which, more than half of all violent incidents do occur.
The alcohol norm brought to Tanzania by alcohol marketing from Western Big Alcohol companies creates a “permissiveness” anti-social behavior due to alcohol inebriation and intoxication.
Alcohol harm a massive burden in Tanzania
Harmful use of alcohol is a growing problem in Tanzania and one that requires quick attention,” said Head of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Unit at the Ministry of Health, Dr Norman Sabuni.
The 2014 WHO Global Status Report on Alcohol indicates that about 34% of Tanzanians who use alcohol do engage in binge alcohol intake.