Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Despite 636 arrests, ‘drug problem not considered urgent in Zimbabwe’

The government is seemingly reluctant to institute a comprehensive crackdown against drug suppliers and peddlers in Zimbabwe.

The questions being asked are: “Why are the police not going after the provided leads and tips? Why is it now such a big deal for police to raid publicly known or reported drug houses? Who is bringing drugs into Zimbabwe? How are these drugs by-passing customs and border authorities?”

The State newspaper, Herald, on Wednesday reported that the nationwide crackdown against drug suppliers and peddlers had intensified as police are now conducting door-to-door searches to flush out the illegal trade in the dangerous substances.

It went on to cite that at least 636 suspects have been arrested, most of them from Mufakose and Warren Park suburbs. Mbanje plants were also recovered at a house in a garden, in Mufakose.

The intensification of the fight, however, cannot be defined by the arrest of small-fish in the High density suburbs. It is a well known fact that there are politically connected bigwigs who are responsible for the smuggling of drugs into the country.

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Tapiwa Kapurura, an observer, wrote on Nehanda Radio this week that bigwigs are yet to be seen condemning drugs, a clear message that “the drug problem is not considered urgent in Zimbabwe.”

He further questioned the political will of the government to address the problem when even the government spokesperson Nick Mangwana is reluctant to strongly condemn it.

“For now, the drug problem is not considered urgent in Zimbabwe. We have not seen bigwigs openly condemn drugs. It’s a business-as-usual stance as drugs continue to rain in Harare. Those with voices to speak have turned their backs on the impacted and grieving masses.

“It would be forgiven to conclude that they could be linked to the suppliers or that they have a hand in the profits coming through the illicit dealing.

The police anti-drugs campaign is dubbed “No to dangerous drugs and illicit substances: See something, say something”.

Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi
Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi

In an interview with the State owned newspaper The Herald , national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said on Monday, they arrested a total of 277 people countrywide bringing the number to 636 since last week.

“On February 6, 2023, police arrested 277 people nationwide on operation, ‘No to dangerous drugs and illicit substances’, bringing cumulative arrests to 636. We want the public to cooperate with the police so that we can get as much information as possible on any one dealing or supplying drugs.

“The police will make sure that the law takes its course. We would want to assure the public that no one is above the law especially in dealing or supplying drugs,” he said.

Kapurura, however, believes that there is more to be done to combat the issue of drugs. He said authorities needed to provide plans and timelines of dealing with the problem.

“We need to see real action and we need some promise and assurance that our government leaders care, are concerned, aware and alive. We need to know the practical efforts and the plan that they have to combat the issue at hand. We need to see the timelines and their strategy on such a public menace.

“We demand accountability as well as a plausible explanation of why they are ignoring publicly known drug houses in Harare. We may also need to understand why the government is pulling a rag under the feet of the nation to enable such irresponsibility and damage to continue in Zimbabwe.

“The citizens are frustrated because of the designed blindfolds by the government. Not much has been done. Roadblocks are just a PR stance. The drug houses have continued to operate,” he said.