Pubdate: Wed, 29 Oct 2003
Source: Daily Nation (Kenya)
Copyright: 2003 Nation Newspapers
Contact: (254-2)213946


The weekend closure of Machakos' Kinyui Boys High School after an arson 
attack that reduced all school structures to ashes was the latest in a 
string of acts of juvenile terrorism in our learning institutions. The 
recent Kyanguli hecatomb in which 68 boys lie buried still haunts us as 
does the conflagration which consumed four Nyeri High school prefects.

There have been assertions that the high school - and even university - 
students involved in arson and other forms of terrorism were under the 
influence of drugs.

We have it from the Government that more than a fifth - 22.7 per cent - of 
primary school children take alcohol, a figure that rises to more than 
three fourths (68 per cent) for the more than 50,000 university students.

Tobacco, miraa (khat), glue, bhang (marijuana) and even hard drugs such as 
heroin and cocaine are rampant in the compounds of our learning institutions.

The findings of a national survey by the National Agency for the Campaign 
against Drug Abuse - which we published on Monday - confirm a pattern that 
Government authorities are well aware of but appear reluctant to arrest.

It is sad that officers - in whom society invests heavily for its safety - 
are now among the greatest causes of the holocausts which consume our 
campuses. They collaborate with drug peddlers to ruin our youth.

We don't know that the boys involved at Kinyui were drug victims. But this 
much we can say. Nobody in his right senses can feel impelled to commit a 
crime as heinous as they committed.

The study rightly argues that drugs are widely abused because they are 
cheaply obtainable. The question is: Why? Why, indeed, do we allow their 
production and sale?

Why do we leave the findings of such a study to the criticism of mice on 
the shelves of officials? Doesn't anybody know that the only way to deal 
with this crime is to arrest it at source?