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Tonto: the Legendary Drink Facing Sanction in Uganda

Folk singers have crooned about it, politicians seeking a common touch take a sip when hunting for votes and traditional ceremonies terminate at dusk with tonto parties. Its devotees are many, ranging from officials in suits to laborers in sandals. But its production is under threat, as cheap bottled beer becomes more attractive to drinkers, and as authorities move to curb the production of what are considered illicit home brews, which have the risk of sometimes deadly contamination. And because tonto production takes place outside official purview, authorities are unable to collect revenue from its sale. A bill in the national assembly seeking to regulate the production and sale of alcohol would criminalize the activities of home brewers of tonto, along with other traditional brews made across this East African country.