575 000 drug traffickers arrested in Africa: PAP

Source: The Herald – Breaking news.

575 000 drug traffickers arrested in Africa: PAP

Farirai Machivenyika recently in Midrand, South Africa

Over 575 000 people were arrested for drug trafficking across Africa between 2016 and 2021, with over 200 000 tonnes of illicit substances seized, the third session of the sixth Pan African Parliament has been told.

The statistics are contained in a report presented to PAP during debate on Thursday last week by Dr Olubusayo Akinola, the head of social welfare, drug control and crime prevention in the African Union’s Department of Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development.

Presenting the report, Dr Akinola said the scourge of drug abuse was a worrying trend on the continent due to its social and economic cost. Some countries reported victims of drug abuse as young as 10.

“At least 576 058 people were arrested for drugs related offences in Africa between 2016-2021, while one in 10 arrested were women. At least 200 490 tonnes of drugs were seized in the same period,” she said.

Dr Akinola said consumption of drugs in Africa was expected to increase by 40 percent by 2030 imploring that the time to act against the increase was now.

“Honourable MPs we need help. If we’re to be able to do something before our tenures expire, at least we should do something to help our youths; 31 percent of people on treatment in Africa are below 25 and are not in school,” she said.

Chairperson of PAP’s Youth Caucus, Ms Dali Laila said there was also need to fight stigma against persons addicted to drugs, especially from family members.

“Studies in Africa have shown that youths addicted to drugs are rejected by their families, which should not be the case.

“We need to look at innovative ways to combat drug use among youths and ways to fight environments that tempt youths into drugs and substances abuse,” she said.

Contributing to the debate, Mr Happymore Chidziva, who is part of Zimbabwe’s delegation to PAP, said it was important to cut the supply chain of drugs.

“We should look at the source of the drugs and cut from there, be it nationally or internationally,” he said.

“Diplomatic efforts should be increased to engage countries where drugs originate from or transit across to assist in curbing the supply,” he said.

Another member of Zimbabwe’s delegation, Cde Elizabeth Masuku, also briefed PAP on the measures the country has taken in fighting the drugs menace.

“Zimbabwe has enacted legislation like the Dangerous Drugs Act to deal with drugs and illicit substances abuse with various policy measures being adopted to deal with the issue,” she said.

Last month, President Mnangagwa launched the Zimbabwe Multi-Sectoral Drug and Substance Abuse Plan (2024-2030) as the country upscales its fight against the scourge.

An inter-ministerial Committee, a multi-sectoral national committee, and a fund to support drug and substance abuse response have been established.

“The Zimbabwe Multi-Sectoral Drug and Substance Abuse Plan (2024-2030) provides a comprehensive roadmap for addressing drug abuse through supply reduction, demand reduction, harm reduction, treatment and rehabilitation as well as psychosocial support and community reintegration.

“In this regard, the Second Republic continues to collaborate with all stakeholders in tackling the menace of drug and substance abuse,” President Mnangagwa said at the launch.