Members of the House of Representatives have pointed fingers at police accusing them of protecting drug dealers, thereby complicating the war against the illicit business in the Isles.
According to the Members of the House of Representatives, police officers have been availing secret information provided to them by whistle blowers to drug dealers.
They made the accusations in the House while debating the budget of the Office of the First Vice-President during the ongoing House sessions at Chukwani in Zanzibar yesterday
Kitope Representative Makame Mbarouk Mashimba (CCM) said while the public cooperates in exposing suspects some members of the police have in turn alerted the suspects that their activities were being monitored.
This trend discourages law abiding citizens, at the same time making the illicit trade to develop roots in isles adversely affecting the health of the nation’s youth.
He said the government should start counseling centres on harmful effects of drugs: “Mr Speaker when people volunteer to offer secrete information on persons involved in the illicit trade some elements in the police force share the information with the suspects.” On his part Konde Representative Suleiman Ahmed Khamis said the government should strengthen patrol in areas that are used as unofficial ports. “Our country has been badly affected by drugs, so community police should be used to fight the illicit drugs trade.” He said it is not enough to focus on the security at the airport and the harbour to eradicate the illicit trade in the isles.
Community Police can help control drugs business because they will be able to identify dealers who operate in their areas, he noted saying, however, that unless corruption is eradicated the problem of drug dealers will persist in Zanzibar.
Also Special Seats Representative Amina Iddi Mbarouk said there are several incidents of illicit drugs cases ‘dying’ while being processed in the courts because of corruption which has been responsible for the disappearance of exhibits.
Stone Town Representative Ismail Jussa Ladhu, said the best way to tackle the problem is to arrest drug barons who smuggle the drugs into the isles instead of dealing only with small traffickers.
Earlier, submitting expenditure estimates for the First Vice-President’s Office, the Minister of State Fatma Abulhabib Ferej said that the ministry has started educating students on the adverse effects of drug use.
At least 4,003 students and local government leaders from both Zanzibar and Pemba have attended awareness sessions on the subject.
Minister Fereji said a team to control illicit drugs in Zanzibar in collaboration with civil society originations has started a rehabilitation centre (Sober House) where some 698 both Zanzibar and Pemba have up to May this year benefited from the service from.
Meanwhile, the team is offering computer classes to 25 youth who have quit using drugs and has appealed to Good Samaritans to come forward to support the youth.
In another development Zanzibar Police Commissioner Mussa Ali Mussa said he has not information on members of the police force sharing secret information with suspects of drugs trade.
He said such an act is totally against police ethics and appealed the public to cooperate with the police in general by indentifying such elements so that they can be taken to task.
He said from the time community police was introduced, cases of drug abuse have deceased significantly as a result of cooperation between the police and communities.
Drugs business in Zanzibar is said to be behind the increased cases of thefts, drug use which has also involved victims injecting themselves with drugs. This habit has lead to increased cases of HIV/Aids infection, observers have said.