Pubdate: Thu, 16 Dec 2004
Source: Daily Nation (Kenya)
Copyright: 2004 Nation Newspapers


Kenya and its capital have of late been receiving superlative
adjectives for all the wrong reasons. The latest is the cocaine that
the police laid their hands on the other day.

Worth Sh5.3 billion, it is reported to be the biggest haul ever
stopped in Africa in the history of the war on drugs. We must
congratulate the force on this achievement, made on two fronts - 53
packets at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and a whole 701
packets in a Malindi boat.

The cinch, however - if the latest worldwide figures are correct - is
that ours is but the tip of the iceberg. With the downfall a decade
ago of a drugs cartel in Colombia - which was the cocaine nerve centre
- - the world seemed on the way to smashing the international network of
this heinous business traffic. But the drug barons seem to have
regrouped and are now on the spiral again.

Nairobi appears to be second only to Lagos among the major African
links on the South America-North America-Western Europe-South Asia
route. We know this from at least three facts. There is, first, the
increasing frequency with which the culprits are caught at our
airports and other centres.

There is also the fact that the contraband is increasing in volume.
Thirdly, we know from Mr Joseph Kaguthi's National Campaign Against
Drug Abuse (Nacada) that - despite his commendable dedication to
eradicating this abuse - more and more youths become addicted and face

It can only mean that the organisers have important personal and
institutional contacts in our capital city, at Mombasa, our principal
seaport, and in our other urban centres.

Because hard drugs are among the greatest dangers that a society can
ever face, this menace calls for concerted action on at least two
fronts. The first is the traditional one - the need to strengthen and
tighten all our security organisations, including Nacada, sparing no
expense to equip them with the latest surveillance techniques to block
every nook and cranny through which the poison may enter our borders.

But police action is only a curative medicine, and much too expensive.
Cheaper and more effective is to protect the body and the mind from
the hunger and idleness that lead us to temptation. To minimise drugs,
we must declare war on poverty and moral ignorance.
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MAP posted-by: Derek