Pubdate: Fri, 13 Aug 2004
Source: Daily Nation (Kenya)
Copyright: 2004 Nation Newspapers
Authors: Samuel Siringi and Anthony Njagi


Nairobi - Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) yesterday said it had 
banned smoking by its officials, as it launched a drive to rid schools of 

The union's national officials asked the Government to implement the 2001 
report on students discipline which proposes ways of tackling drug abuse in 

Secretary general Francis Ng'ang'a and chairman Joseph Chirchir accused the 
Government of not protecting the youth against tobacco and alcohol.

The Government, they said, had allowed tobacco companies to advertise and 
even sponsor student activities.

One of the goals of Knut's Campaign Against Smoking in Learning 
Institutions, unveiled yesterday at the union's headquarters in Nairobi, is 
to have no-smoking zones around schools.

Speaking at function, Mr Ng'ang'a said the Government should review its 
stand on tobacco products.

"Why is the Government ready to sacrifice its citizens for the sake of 
money?" he asked.

He said all the union's 70 branches were no-smoking zones and it would not 
employ smokers.

Mr Chirchir said the Education ministry had failed to evaluate and 
implement the 2001 recommendations.

The report recommended that the ministry, Knut and the National Agency for 
the Campaign Against Drug Abuse (Nacada) work together to tackle the drug 
menace in schools.

Recently, Education minister George Saitoti announced a committee to 
implement the report.

Nacada coordinator Joseph Kaguthi asked civil society groups to pressure 
MPs to pass anti-smoking laws. Mr Kaguthi, whose contract ended in March, 
has been reappointed for another year.

Home minister Linah Jebii Kilimo, who presided over the launch, said the 
Government would hasten measures to protect its citizens from harmful 
tobacco products.

"This is a matter of necessity and urgency as we can see that our youth are 
the targeted market, being recruited and initiated into smoking," she said.

Education minister George Saitoti yesterday appealed to Kenyans to 
intensify efforts to fight drug abuse in schools.

"I appeal to all of you, at the individual, family, community and 
institutional levels to redouble your effort to fight evil," the minister 
said in a speech to mark the end of the 78th Kenya Music Festival at the 
Kenyatta International Conference Centre, Nairobi.

"Through music festivals, we have created hope and given promise for a 
better future," he said. "Let us continue to provide hope by exposing evil 
and threats to the youth."

He presented trophies to 15 top winners, led by Chavakali Boys, Kenyatta 
University, Mombasa Polytechnic and Oshwal Jain School.

Students from one school were expelled from the festival for being drunk.

Some 70,000 students took part in the 10-day event, compared to last year's 
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