Marlborough holds drug awareness workshop

24 May, 2024 - 00:05 0 Views
Marlborough holds drug awareness workshop Sergeant Zhira (standing) from ZRP Marlborough public relations addresses the drug awareness workshop.

Suburban

Diana Nherera Suburban Reporter

In the wake of the deepening drug abuse problem in Zimbabwe, the Marlborough community including the police, residents, civic organisations, councillor and Member of Parliament came together to hold an awareness workshop in the suburb last weekend.

Speakers at the workshop shared insights into how the law could be used to fight the problem, the role of council in preventing youth delinquency and tales of how drugs were ripping the fabric of society.

The meeting heard that the role of the Zimbabwe Republic Police is to enforce the laws of the country and raise awareness on the dangers and effects of drug and substance abuse.

Speaking at the workshop held at Marlborough District Office on Saturday, Sergeant Zhira from ZRP Marlborough Police Station public relations told the workshop that police have the CID Drugs and Narcotics Department to deal with drug related crimes.

“There are people already serving sentences while some have been convicted.

“We have so far had 800 drug peddlers who have been prosecuted since we started (the campaign against drugs). Some are serving their jail sentences.

“Peddling drugs is an offence, transporting and marketing (drugs) are also offenses.

“We have an offence for possession, use, selling and importing (drugs).

“I think you have seen at the airport police intercepting and arresting drug dealers who deal in dangerous drugs such as cocaine. We also do undercover (investigations).

“Those with information, let’s share, let’s expose them. Information is power.

“Report drug peddlers because the effect might not be direct to you but to someone you know,” he said.

Sgt Zhira said the role of the police in the fight against drugs was to enforce the laws enacted to deal with the problem in the country.

“We enforce the Dangerous Drugs Act, Harmful Liquids Act, we enforce all the laws of the land. We do awareness campaigns. We are trying to educate the nation. We are trying to create awareness on the dangers and effects of drugs.”

Ward 41 Councillor Kudzai Kadzombe said local authorities also have a role to play in the fight against drug and substance abuse through availing recreational facilities, sporting facilities, vocational training centres and community centres for youths and residents.

She said local authorities in Zimbabwe had been caught by surprise in terms of planning.

“No one anticipated the population bulge and we had not planned for that increase in population and to realise that we don’t have community centres in each area.

“We need to upgrade our vocational training (institutions) so that they can adapt to the new technologies.

“We don’t even have swimming pools. If I speak for Ward 41, we don’t have swimming pools, basketball courts and parks where people can go and sit and relax, interact with their peers where a free wifi zone is provided,” she said

Cllr Kadzombe said plans were on paper to build a community sports centre in Marlborough.

“We made a resolution in council where we said we have to identify pieces of land in each area where we can then start constructing these recreational facilities.

“And in our ward, we have a community sports centre that is just down Admiral Tait where we have said the youths in this area, this is a project that the City of Harare would like to partner with you to ensure that you have somewhere you can play sports and interact,” she said.

Cllr Kadzombe said unemployment and idleness were contributing to the spike in drug use and abuse.

“If you move around in this area, you will see many youths seated on bridges and just loitering because they really don’t have anything to do.

“So this is something that is affecting us as a nation.

“I think statistics have been said given on the unemployment rate.

“And we cannot continue accepting these statistics and not doing anything about it,” she said.

Cllr Kadzombe said communities needed to come up with their own initiatives in assisting the youths.

“As a community, we need to come up with our own initiatives, obviously with youths leading these processes. What do you want City of Harare to do for you in terms of capacitation of projects and training? So we need to hear from you what projects you want us to do then we go back to council and come up with policies so that we support such initiatives?”

She said residents know where the drugs are being sold.

“And many times I have reached out to Marlborough Police reporting (some of the culprits), either there are tuckshops (or some other sellers).

“We also know that even women with grandchildren sell these drugs to someone else’s grandchild.

“Some are grown men selling in tuckshops and we report them to the police and they are arrested but resurface after three days,” she said.

Cllr Kadzombe said there is need for more punitive penalties if the war against drugs is to be won.

“This is why I’m zoning in on our community because on the national scale the fight against drugs would be very difficult.

“But if we start off at community level to say, Harare West says no to drugs that is something that we know we will be able to achieve,” she said.

Cllr Kadzombe said the drugs plague was tearing families apart.

“There is a lady who phoned me and said ‘my husband is taking drugs, my son is taking drugs and I don’t know what to do because when they start being violent I end up spending days away from home’. The issue of drugs is also affecting generations and generations. It needs a holistic way of addressing it.”

Cllr Kadzombe also shared a story of her family member who stayed in Marlborough but committed suicide as a result of drugs.

“This is why you see that as an individual, though I am a policymaker the issues of drugs and rehabilitation are very close and very personal to me.”

Harare West Member of Parliament Ms Joanah Mamombe said it was important for young people to know where they are coming from.

“Our backgrounds are very important.

“Where we are also going? The young people are the future.

“How do we become the future if we are abusing drugs at this age?

“How do we become the doctors of tomorrow, the engineers, the policy makers of tomorrow when we are destroying our health system, when we are destroying our lives with drugs?

“So I would like to encourage the school-going age, the young people who have come to this event to say every single day, feed your mind with things that are important to you,” she said.

Ms Mamombe said one way of beating the trap of falling into drugs was to associate with people and friends who feed you positive things.

“Always surrounding yourself with people that feed into your mental cup, it is very important.

“Even parents, teachers you spend the entire day with children.

“The way you comment about the kids is very important.

“Let’s feed positivity.

“So we are saying as leaders in the community, engage in positivity,” she said.

Ms Mamombe encouraged Miss Precious Kambarame of Preshy Valsh Hope Foundation to come up with a document or a petition to Government.

“We have a right to petition Government or Parliament on certain pieces of legislation that need clarification.

“So you bring your petition to Parliament and it goes to the relevant committee and they can then decide to tour for example rehabilitation centres in Zimbabwe to see if they are assisting.

“So I recommend Preshy Valsh to come up with a petition that goes to Parliament to petition Government on what it is doing on issues pertaining to drugs and substance abuse.

“You have some of the laws dating back to 1975, 1980, they are old Acts that we have.

“What are we doing as Parliament to make sure that we prioritise issues of young people particularly drug and substance abuse?

“Just having a policy is not enough but we need it to be a law. We need to encourage citizens to say you can contribute to the law making processes through petitions,” she said.

 

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