Coast politicians engage in blame game over failure to address deadly addictions

A drug user makes a cocktail of synthetic drugs from prescription drugs at Ukunda in Kwale County. [Robert Menza, Standard]

The renewed war against drug barons has ignited a fierce debate at the Coast with opposition MPs and those in the ruling party accusing each other of doing nothing to end the scourge.

Opposition leaders led by Mombasa Governor Abdulswamad Nassir have also accused leaders accusing Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua of politicising it.

Mr Nassir has dismissed the DP’s recent meeting in Mombasa, saying Gachagua was playing politics.

Nassir and ODM leaders who did not attend the DP’s meeting, dared Gachagua to name the politicians protecting the drug barons instead of maligning all leaders for political expediency.

“If he has intelligence and resources, why has he not arrested the barons? He should stop deceiving the public and shadowboxing. Arrest the barons and parade them for us to see,” said Nassir.

During the meeting, Gachagua took a swipe at the political leaders at the Coast, accusing some of them of being silent in the fight against drug abuse while the youths perished.

“Why are some of the Coastal leaders silent on this issue, or could it be that they benefited from the monies in their campaigns? These are the questions we are asking,” said Gachagua.

Nyali MP Mohamed Ali (UDA) attacked Nassir for doing little in the fight against drug barons. He accused the county government of licensing many bars in residential areas that have turned into drug dens. He said at Frare Ward, there were over 1000 drug addicts, while Bamburi Vescon clubs sell alcohol up to 6 am when children are going to school and some end up entering such joints.

Yesterday, Nassir accused the national government of failing to apprehend drug barons in the area despite the security resources in control, instead exchanging blame with opposition leaders.

“He should arrest drug Lords instead of threatening to do so. His statements are insults to Kenyans since the national government has all the intelligence and resources to deal with criminals,” he said.

Senator Mohamed Faki challenged the County Assemblies at the Coast to enact laws that will aid in controlling the sale and consumption of mogoka and miraa in the region.

“In Mount Kenya region, the problem is bars, but in Coast, it is miraa and mogoka which eventually leads our youths to cocaine and heroin. We must regulate the sale of miraa and mogoka,” he said.

Likoni MP Mishi Mboko accused Gachagua of playing politics with a weighty issue of illicit drugs, saying the government had the personnel and resources to eradicate the illicit trade.

“I want to tell the DP that it is not a must for all leaders to attend his meeting. All his officers from national government administration and police know where the drugs are sold,” she said.

“Let’s stop the rhetoric and start action. How many have you arrested since last week? If he is unable to do it then he should give us those guns and handcuffs so that we can do it ourselves,” she said.

Woman Representative Zamzam Mohamed said that the drug issue was currently being used by the government for politics.

“I went round with Second Lady Dorcas Gachagua to drug dens and she saw how the situation was and here is her husband attacking us claiming we benefit from drugs. He should visit the dens to see the situation and not hold meetings in five-star hotels,” said Ms Mohamed.

During the meeting, Senate Speaker Amason Kingi threatened to expose some drug barons that had attended the seminar but failed to do so after being prevailed upon by Gender and Culture Cabinet Secretary Aisha Jumwa.

“I’m seeing some drug barons here, should I mention them or I keep quiet but I will mention them, they have two minutes to vacate the meeting but CS Aisha Jumwa has told me not to mention them,” said Kingi during the meeting.

By AFP 14 hrs ago
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