Pubdate: Sun, 29 Jun 2008
Source: Daily Nation (Kenya)
Copyright: 2008 Nation Newspapers
Author: Daniel Wesangula


A cabinet minister has advised Kenyans against engaging in drug abuse
and trafficking.

Prof George Saitoti, the Minister of State for Provincial
Administration and Internal Security, warned on Saturday that the
practice could jeopardise the country's efforts to attain both the
UN's Millennium Development Goals and the Vision 2030.

"Compounded by increasing HIV/Aids prevalence, poverty and insecurity,
drug abuse could reverse any gains made in improving social, economic
and political fronts," Prof Saitoti said in a speech read  by
assistant minister Orwa Ojode during the International Day Against
Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking held at the National Youth Service
College in Gilgil.

The minister said people who involved themselves in drugs risked
getting themselves into a state of hopelessness.

He expressed concern that half of the world's drug abusers are aged
between 10 and 19 years, a time when they are supposed to be
productive in society. Prof Saitoti called for stern action to reverse
the emerging trend.

For his part, the Rev Wilfred Kogo of the Presbyterian Church of East
Africa expressed reservations on the government's track record on the
war against drug abuse. The Rev Kogo said that the Kenyan
anti-narcotics legislation is weak, and that more needs to be done to
empower Kenyans to manage drug abuse right from home.

He said that the recent wave of unrest in secondary schools across the
country was a sign that school children were being used in the sale
and consumption of drugs. He, however, said that the war against drugs
should not only be fought by the government but by the public as well.

Illicit brews

Speaking at the same function, the national co-ordinator of the
National Campaign Against Drug Abuse Authority (Nacada), Mrs Jennifer
Kimani, urged Kenyans to stop growing bhang and trading in illicit
brews like chang'aa.

She said NACADA will work with the police in the fight against drug
abuse and trafficking.

She also expressed concern over the growing number of Kenyans being
convicted in foreign countries on drug trafficking charges.

"In the recent past, a number of our youths are said to have been
arrested in Africa and around the world where they are facing
trafficking charges," she said.
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