The government plans to show a video of seized illicit drugs, the arrested suspects and the tactics used in bringing the drugs into the country to Members of Parliament.
It announced the decision yesterday after legislators questioned its resolve and zeal to combat the trade following reports that drug trafficking was on the rise in the country.
Responding to MPs’ views on the illegal trade, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (Policy, Coordination and Parliamentary Affairs) William Lukuvi said the video would be shown to the MPs at a seminar to be held later during the ongoing parliamentary meeting.
Lukuvi caught the attention of the lawmakers when he said that the drug barons to be shown in the video tape included a Nigerian cleric who heads the Lords Chosen Charismatic Revival Church.
The minister said the spiritual leader has a church building at Biafra area in Kinondoni District, adding that the church has got branches in Mwanza, Arusha, England, Kenya and South Africa.
The cleric, according to Lukuvi, was arrested recently at Kunduchi Mtongani in the city in illegal possession of 81 kgs of cocaine.
“Having encountered a lot of challenges from the MPs, we have decided to summon the task force involved in the anti-drugs campaign to come here and conduct a special seminar for MPs,’’ he said.
The seminar would involve watching the video that shows the illicit drugs seized, the arrested drug barons, the techniques used in trafficking them and their effects to the public.
When tabling the budget speech for his office last Thursday, Prime Minister Mizengo admitted that drug trafficking and peddling was still a big problem in the country.
He added that the government would continue tracking the network in and outside the country in cooperation with Interpol with a view to busting it.
He told the House that the government formed a special task force in order to track people involved in drug trafficking and peddling.
According to Pinda, information gathered by the intelligence has aided a lot in the arrest of culprits passing through the country’s exit and entry points.
Explaining how big the problem is, Pinda said in the 2010/2011 financial year, the government burnt 310 acres of marijuana, while 7,221 suspects were arrested in connection with possession of the illicit grass.
The Premier said during the same period a total of 23 suspects were arrested in separate incidents after being found possessing the 368.4 kgs of heroin. Also, a total 148 kgs of cocaine were seized and 16 suspects during the period.
Pinda told the House that seizure of heroin and cocaine in the year 2010/2011 alone has been ten times higher than the amounts impounded between the period 2000 and 2010.
Meanwhile, the government has strongly refuted reports that the ballot papers used during the general elections last year were of poor quality.
Contributing to the budget speech for the Prime Minister’s Office Minister of State in PMO (Policy, Coordination and Parliamentary Affairs) Lukuvi said the papers were of high standard.
The ballot papers once used could last several years without the ink and its resolutions mixing up, according to Lukuvi, who also said that they were printed by M/s Kalamazoo Secure Solutions Limited (MKSS) of Britain which won the tender after defeating 30 other companies.
Though Lukuvi did not give details of the matter, reports state that there was no local company which tendered for the ballot paper supply. Lukuvi said the company that printed the ballot papers has good record and experience of over 100 years, adding that it also won similar tenders in Kenya and Nigeria.
Denouncing claims by the opposition legislators that the government denied the media opportunity to excise freedom during the general elections, Lukuvi said no media outlet was denied the same its reportage during the polls last year.
He said the bottom line was for the media companies to adhere to the principles, rules, regulations and laws governing the industry.