Warrap residents decry ‘unfair’ ruling against brewer
AUTHOR: Joseph Ngor | PUBLISHED: October 13, 2023
Dakaya under production in Eastern Equatoria State in 2021 | Credit | The Insider
Some residents of Warrap State have criticized the “heavy” and “unfair” local court ruling against a 37-year-old brewer.
On Thursday, Gogrial East County Court sentenced Awien Manut to three years in prison for producing ad selling dakaya – a banned local brew.
The court also ordered her to pay a fine of 150,000 South Sudanese Pounds.
Police authorities claimed that the judgment was harsh because they had warned the single mother of seven children against the violation of the ban “several times”.
Reacting to the ruling, people appreciated the alcohol ban but called on the court to reduce the punishment labelled against Gogrial East woman.
‘’This punishment is heavy compared to this woman’s life. Imagine she has seven children without a father, and she is now thrown behind bars,” argued Samuel Yai. “I urge the government to reduce the fine to 30,000 SSP and 1- or 2-month imprisonment.”
A very strong local brew, dakaya is made from yeast and sugar, a process that includes fermentation of the components for days before distillation.
Officials banned it due to health concerns.
During the liberation struggle (1983-2005) when men were in the frontlines, fighting the Sudan Armed Forces, some women resorted to brewing it and other traditional drinks to raise children.
Today, many argue that the current economic conditions force women to produce the drinks to meet their children’s needs, including tuition fee.
“Who will take care of the children? This is an unfair punishment. If it is true that the government want to hold her accountable, she should have been sentenced to 3 months in prison without fines,” Adior Nyuol said.
“I agree to the ruling that punish her for the acts though it is too much time,” added Abuk Osman.
The county authorities are yet to comment on the residents’ concerns.