Pubdate: Fri, 14 Dec 2001
Source: Daily Nation (Kenya)
Copyright: 2001 Nation Newspapers
Contact: (254-2)213946


We note with dismay reports that 10 acres of bhang in Laikipia District 
have been secretly harvested to evade police action.

Clearly, there are very sophisticated actors involved in this scandal. They 
are playing for big stakes and have the resources to mobilise support to 
clear an entire plantation in less than three days.

The bhang was discovered at Ndurumo village on Sunday, but by Tuesday, when 
police returned with an entourage of journalists, it had been harvested.

Kenyans have every reason to be concerned that such goings-on should take 
place. It points to a powerful conspiracy involving people willing to go to 
any lengths for drug money.

The real nightmare, however, is where the bhang will next surface. We can 
only speculate that young people will be the targets, given recent 
statistics that indicate that 90 per cent of students have experimented 
with drugs - the most common being bhang.

These are powerful indicators of just how pervasive the drug problem is. 
The key message the anti-narcotics unit needs to communicate to all Kenyans 
is that this is one battle we cannot afford to lose.

The Laikipia case was too large an operation to have happened in secret. 
Someone worked on the crop, packed it and transported it out of the 
plantation. It should not be too difficult to track down the culprits if 
local residents cooperate.

The Laikipia administration team was on the right track when it got 
together with the media. Public education will be essential to break up the 
drug cartels that have turned many young Kenyans into vegetables.

We might also consider mobilising parents, teachers, local leaders and 
civil society in a synchronised national campaign to make it difficult for 
drug traffickers to continue benefiting from their illicit trade.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom