In a well-disposed move that has been welcomed by many locals here, Kwekwe City Council recently converted a beerhall into a rehabilitation centre- a development widely viewed as a response to the plague of drug and substance abuse which has soared to imponderable levels in the Midlands mining town and across the country.

Zwnews can authoritatively reveal that the local authority has already begun work on the transformation of Amaveni Beerhall into a rehabilitation center.

Council contracted its department of works to do the refurbishments of the facility- a heyday imbibing joint widely referred to as the ‘Big Bhawa‘ by residents from Kwekwe’s oldest African township of Amaveni.

The pub was one of the many crumbling council-run beerhalls whose amplified state of deterioration had perennially raised eyebrows in the Midlands town.

Elated residents from Amaveni suburb told this publication that the move to convert the beerhall into a rehabilitation center was the right step in the right direction.

“This was a well-thought move which calls for recognition,” David Madochi, a senior resident told our news-crew in an interview.

“The situation that has been created by the high incidence of drug-abuse in the community is unacceptable and with the coming of mutoriro (crystal methamphetamine), our youths have become a generation of fallen soldiers with absolutely no concern on what they will become, tomorrow,” added Madochi.

The move by Kwekwe City Council comes at a time when the southern African nation is currently grappling with increased incidences of drug and substance abuse mostly amongst the jobless young people.

Parliament of Zimbabwe recently called for ‘urgent’ construction of more drug rehabilitation facilities in the country as the high incidence of drug abuse has become a matter of widespread concern.

In her address during an an anti-drug abuse campaign that was held in Norton last November, parliamentary youth-caucus vice president, Johanna Mamombe of the Nelson Chamisa-led Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) party, shouldered the blame on ‘older people’ for introducing the drugs to the youths.

“We need to emphasise an end to all forms of substance abuse. It is worrisome to know that older people are playing a role in introducing youngsters to drugs as they prepare a market for the drugs they sell,” Mamombe said.

She also added, saying:

“I’m very happy for this initiative and I would like to encourage everyone to stop abusing drugs; it is not too late to quit now. We want to assure you that as the Parliamentary Youth Caucus, we are not going to end here. We will take the initiative to our constituencies as well so as to ensure awareness is widespread.”

While speaking of Public Service Labour and Social Welfare minister Paul Mavima during the same occasion, Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs minister Mary Mliswa-Chikoka said:

““This calls for serious dedication, teamwork, reduction of corruption and underhand dealings when tackling the issues of drug and substance abuse.”

Meanwhile, Amaveni Beerhall is not the first drinking facility to be transformed into a center for other services by the city council.

During the onset of the Covid-19 lockdown in 2020, the local authority converted its Garandichauya Beerhall in Mbizo suburb, into an infectious disease hospital.

Kwekwe town clerk, Dr Lucia Mkandla was not immediately available for a comment on the matter during the time of publishing.