A Special anti-illicit drug unit will become operational soon, Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda announced yesterday. According to the premier, the new organ will step up the fight against narcotics trade, trafficking and abuse in the country.
“Despite efforts being made to stop this illegal business, dealings and abuse of drugs are on the rise in many parts of our country,” said Pinda in his speech at the national celebrations to mark International Day against Drug Abuse and Trafficking held yesterday in Dar es Salaam.
In a speech read on his behalf by the Minister for Home Affairs, Dr Emmanuel Nchimbi, the premier said the government’s resolve to battle the illegal trade remains intact, hinting that preparations for setting up the special anti-illicit drugs unit had reached advantaged stage.
“The unit’s groundwork is being finalised in order to pave the way for official operation of this organ,” said Pinda, without disclosing exactly when it will start operations.
Once in place, he said, the unit would beef up ongoing war against illicit drug trade, trafficking and abuse, and that it will go as far as technically identifying drug abuse and trafficking syndicates.
He said the government was determined and committed to stop illicit drug trade and abuse, noting that results of the government efforts would be more visible when the special organ becomes operational.
Pinda said he had already directed district and regional security committees to step up mechanisms for detecting and identifying people involved in illicit drug business so that decisive actions could be taken against the culprits.
“They should conduct extensive crackdowns to identify the suspect and take them to respective law enforcement organs, regardless of their social class or position,” stressed the premier.
He admitted that the government faces daunting challenges in its national anti-drug crusade, citing serious setbacks as existence of multiple and informal entry spread across the world as well as corruption amongst state executives working for anti-drug units.
Anti-Drugs Control Acting commissioner Aida Tesha cited improved communication and information technologies as driving forces behind proliferation of illicit drug trade in the East African region.
Meanwhile, during the commemoration, a number of youths interviewed claimed that lack of employment and poverty are the main factors dragging them into illicit drug trade and abuse.
“As you can see, we have nothing do here and at the same time we have got nothing in our pockets. So, what do you expect us to do? We take those drugs to forget our problems,’’ said one of the youths identified as Saleh Nassor.
“Up to now, I am still wondering how the government can use much effort to fight against us while it is known that in Tanzania we do not produce cocaine, heroin and others except marijuana. I think, more effort should be directed to fighting against people importing these drugs into the country,” said another youth, Juma Alli.