The recent arrest of Tanzanians in Mozambique on charges of drug trafficking brings one to question: Is Tanzania looking to be branded as notorious for their criminal activities? As nationals of this country we revel in the fact that we can turn up our noses at blacklisted countries.
Seriously, how long do you think we can continue to look down on others considering the path we are taking?
We laugh at our neighboring African countries known for their infamous criminal acts especially in the West.
Tanzania will not only be in the same boat sidelined at port of entry but we will also headline foreign news!
There is nothing worse than a country that is blacklisted. It affects all of us whether you are rolling in riches or a street dweller. There has been a startlingly high rise of Tanzanians both internationally and domestically arrested for drug trafficking. Where is our country heading?
Our founding fathers are most definitely turning in their graves. Yes, we have made the move to capitalism but must we also sell our souls to the highest bidder on this journey?
The report from the International Narcotics Control Board - INCB, indicates that in 2009 640 tons of cannabis herbs were seized in Africa, 11 percent of the amount seized world wide. In Africa seizures of cannabis resin remained concentrated in a small number of countries: Egypt, Kenya, Malawi, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa and Tanzania accounted for at least 90 percent of the total amount of cannabis resin seized in Africa.
Dar es Salaam is rapidly establishing itself as a drug trafficking station. Unbelievable large seizures have been made by officials for example, the 179kg in February 2011 and the 210kg of heroin in January 2012.
“The global Afghan Opium Trade: A threat Assessment” report made by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime - UNODC states that drug traffickers faced with tough restrictions to transit through Asia and Middle East have turned to Africa into their preferred station for heroin shipment.
Traffickers are targeting countries like Tanzania with inadequate number of law enforcement at seaports. Let us pat ourselves on the back, Tanzania is becoming a dumping ground and thoroughfare for all sorts - counterfeit/fake/substandard products, terrorism, money laundering and now we are proudly toting drug trafficking to the list! What other felonious ladders would we like to ascend?
We are a peaceful country yet we are constantly pushing the envelope. Do we really want to have our country turned upside down with the subsequent mass chaos that seems to tag along with drug trafficking: money laundering, terrorism, human trafficking, organized crime etc?
We cannot keep allowing these criminal activities to flourish in our country, hand in hand as Tanzanians we should not put our country to shame abroad.
Of course one can argue that trafficking is widespread due to a number of reasons: poverty, rampant corruption, scant number of law enforcement at transit points etc. What do you do? This is a matter for all hands on deck.
If we leave this to sprout roots in our future leaders, they will lead us while lost in the haze that comes with blazing, sniffing, injecting, selling, and trafficking these illicit drugs. What future will Tanzania look forward to?