The Cabinet Secretary (SC) for Interior and National Coordination (CS), Dr. Fred Matiang’i on Sunday declared total war on the drug menace in the Coast region.
Dr. Matiang’i regretted that the drug problem in Mombasa and Coast region in general has been spoken about for far too long saying time to take painful decisions to eradicate the vice has now come.
“We are about to roll out an unprecedented operation to flush out drug peddlers in this region,” said Dr. Matiang’i at Uhuru na Kazi Building in Mombasa after chairing a meeting that brought together security chiefs from the region and elected leaders.
The CS who was accompanied by the Inspector General of Police, Hilary Mutyambai said the government will provide the necessary support to security teams to effectively combat the drug menace in the region.
He said, “Kenyans are tired of promises and threats and therefore it’s time to deal with this menace head on.”
Dr. Matiang’i further thanked coast leaders for agreeing to work with the government in this operation to fight drug peddling and abuse.
“It is of utmost importance for leaders to work together and secure the future of our youth,” added the CS.
Those present during the more than four hours meeting were Mombasa Senator, Mohamed Faki, MPs, Abdulswamad Nassir (Mvita), Mohamed Ali (Nyali) and Mishi Mboko of Likoni constituency.
Others were the Mombasa Deputy Governor, Prof. Michael Kingi, the Coast Regional Commissioner (CRC), John Elung’ata and several Members of the Mombasa County Assembly led by Speaker, Harub Ebrahim.
The CS noted that President Uhuru Kenyatta has initiated meaningful programs to benefit the youth in the country but said this was being frustrated by drug barons whose main agenda is to make money at the expense of the youth.
“We are commencing a painful journey but we are determined to end the drug menace in this region,” added the CS.
He also warned politicians behind the revival of criminal gangs that they will be dealt with severely regardless of their status.
Prof. Kingi said the County government will team up with the national government in the fight against drugs saying the problem has adversely affected the youth in the area.
In June 2011, the Global Commission on Drug Policy (GCDP) released a report that declared ‘the global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world.
To demonstrate the usage of hard drugs was on the rise, the Commission reported that between 1998 and 2008, global use of opiates increased to 34.5 per cent, cocaine 27 per cent and cannabis 8.5.
Kenya and Tanzania have become key transit points for drugs destined for Europe and the United States of America.
In a report published last year, the US State Department said, ‘Kenya is a significant transit country for a variety of illicit drugs, including heroin and cocaine with an increase domestic use population.’
Though drug abuse is prevalent in several urban centres in the country, the problem is more rampant in the coast region. According to the National Campaign against Drug Abuse (NACADA), Mombasa alone has 38,000 addicts.
The Project Director of Citizen Against Child and Drug Abuse, Faroq Saad decried that drug users in Mombasa County spend about Sh.2.2 million to consume heroin daily.
Saad said the addicts spend virtually all their income on drugs and other banned substances to satisfy their cravings.
By Mohamed Hassan