Tapiwa Kapurura: Hard drugs in Zimbabwe now a national security concern
Many sociologists believe that the best way to hit a nation is to plant drugs among its most active populations. The youth get high and forget their direction. I worry about that picture because youth are the Achille’s heel of every nation.
The future of Zimbabwe lies in our youth. Without them, we are doomed because we will suffer a terrible gap on resources, human capital, and skills continuity. A drunk and drugged youth is the fastest way to debase a nation.
No one will focus on real business. School work, skill gathering and focused ambitions are set aside as people chase drugs followed by other corrupt and immoral stuff once they become vulnerable.
The news about the eight expelled students from the Harare Convent School should be a wake-up call to the busy Government of Zimbabwe. It’s also shocking that an estimated 57% of our youth are now dealing drugs as parents are either in denial of, or are dismissive to, the issue.
Meanwhile the Government has assumed a lackadaisical approach to a fast-looming hard drug issue on our streets. We are yet to hear about a clear plan or strategy to combat this issue.
Already half a day is gone after the Harare Convent School saga and there is no word from our fathers. The lookaside approach has disturbed many because no one seems interested in tracing the dots of crime. Anyone can be forgiven for concluding that fish rots from the head.
If no big wig was involved, this issue would be very easy to resolve. Why do we have so many hard drugs on our streets today? Where are these coming from or where are they being made? How do they bypass customs? Why is it that no one is getting arrested? Who is doing this to our nation? Where are some hard liquor options like “Tumbwa” emerging from?
A few months ago, using the Twitter platform, I tried to express a genuine concern about the hard drug issue as a public health crisis. Some came frothing at the mouth and ignorantly stated that the Government of Zimbabwe had nothing to do with the drug issue.
They went further and argued that it was the duty of the families to preach and discipline their children to stay away from drugs. Then they concluded that the Government had no business in one’s personal health to which I counter-argued that maybe our government could be the only one in the world without care and concern for such debilitating effects of national health.
I wondered what public health stood for when people were in that stance of innocence on such a supposed high magnitude public policy. I also wondered why the drug issue was mainly advanced by non-profit organizations when the government was supposed to clearly spearhead a fast and furious approach to stop the pandemic from hitting every household in my Zimbabwe.
In nations like China, Israel, or the Arab world, their zero-tolerance approach on hard drugs created a mandatory jail sentence for peddler, consumer, or possessor. Customs offices were tight.
They were fighting hard to make sure their nations steered clear of such a menace that could reduce their national mortality rate and activate a demand for robust budgets to counter the problem. Drugs could mean mental health issue, depression, stress, anxiety and national insecurity.
Families, neighborhoods, and communities could be hit hard as people sought solutions. It would be a sad day for Zimbabwe as mourners would take turns to go bury their loved ones dying from drug abuse.
While not sounding alarmist, the drug issue in Zimbabwe could turn out to be a pandemic if law enforcement continued to fold arms and corruptly accept orders to look the other way.
The Convent School news was supposed to be an opportunity for the Attorney-General, the Minister of Health, National Security People and Church Leaders to hold a quick meeting on how the dots of distribution could be traced. The food chain was supposed to be easy to follow.
The expelled eight would know exactly how the drugs fell in their hands. Authorities were supposed to jump onto the issue, weave in Nick Mangwana to issue a decent public communique to assure the public that the Government was on it.
Instead of that seemingly easy option, we only get secondary relief methods through a top layer approach. They are talking about counseling and rehabilitation in a Zimbabwe where such services are on the top shelf if not inaccessible to the ordinary person.
In any case such secondary options could work if supported by some measures to stop the sources to prevent continuity of menace. Sadly, no one wants to dig deeper to see who is doing this to our youth. Someone is making money and planting a seed for a drug hyacinth problem to Zimbabwe.
When national security agents in Zimbabwe talk about national Security, they only target the Chamisa Yellow and the CCC as the only threat that could topple ZANU PF big wigs from their comfort zone to let democracy flourish in the troubled nation.
There are many other factors that could be on the table. National minerals and related resources. Corruption. The fear of foreign invasions and the loss of national revenue. As the economy continues to sink, many forget that even hard drugs are a cause of national security.
A negatively impacted nation with a debased and disturbed youth could mean a huge gap in human capital and a humungous loss of resources as authorities try to leave the artificial detour so they can get back to the main highway of sanity, accountability, democracy and good governance.
It’s about time something gets done about the drug issue in Zimbabwe. There are no excuses to the menace. Authorities must wake up and do something to mollify the public anxiety over the menace. Words only will not help in this regard. Let’s see some motion.
Tapiwa Kapurura writes in his personal capacity