BY SAPIEN SAPIEN
Trade in illicit drugs is an issue of global security and is evident when one considers the fact that this illicit trade diffuses between developing countries from where production is primarily confined, to the developed world where consumption is guaranteed.
This trade is a big nefarious threat to global peace and international security, operating along the asymmetric realms and taking advantage of numerous realities laden within the society.
For instance, the very same laws that thrive to facilitate trade between and amongst countries are taken advantage of by drug mules, peddlers and kingpins to reach their markets
This illicit trade thrives on demand. For as long as demand exists, supply is guaranteed. The laws of drug lords and gangs is violence. They do not tolerate dissent and neither do they expect law enforcement agents to enforce their illegal shenanigans.
They use arbitrary violence to settle matters. This is where the Mexican and Colombian drug wars can be contextualised on, even the infamous Medellin Cartel that was under arguably the most brutal drug vampire ever known to humanity, Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria.
Escobar was a Colombian drug lord and narcoterrorist who was the founder and sole leader of the Medellín Cartel. Escobar is the wealthiest criminal in history, having amassed an estimated net worth of US$30 billion by the time of his death — equivalent to $59 billion as of 2019 — while his drug cartel monopolised the cocaine trade into the United States in the 1980s and early 1990s. His cause of death is listed as “a bullet wound to the head”.
Drug abuse is a phenomenon that imposes both direct and indirect costs to society. The temptation is to make early reference to the crime-terror nexus, but the objective behind this thesis being to expose the diabolical threat to national security being posed by an underreported pandemic eating, with extreme corrosive impact, on the moral posture of the Zimbabwean society.
The gist of this article is AWARENESS. Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Kirsty Coventry once tweeted about the dangers being posed by drug and substance abuse amongst the youths in Zimbabwe.
Her submission was reinforced by a video wherein youths were seen consuming potent drugs such as histalix, nyaope, codeine and crystal meth, amongst other dangerous drugs.
Recent terror activities in Cabo Delgado must enlighten the Zimbabwean society to the importance of early threat detection, potential for radicalisation and recruitment and the likelihood for radicalising agents to take advantage of a broken society through luring its youth to fight for a cause they otherwise wouldn’t be willing to embark upon if sober and free from drugs.
The crime-terror nexus is an increasingly scary global phenomenon that could take root in Zimbabwe It was made popular by non-state actors such as the Sinaloa Cartel, Al-Qaeda and ISIS, amongst others.
The Sinaloa Cartel, also known as the CDS, the Guzmán-Loera Organisation, the Pacific Cartel, the Federation and the Blood Alliance, is a large international drug trafficking, money laundering, and organised crime syndicate established during the late 1980s.
As of 2020, the Sinaloa Cartel remains Mexico’s most dominant drug cartel.
Al-Qaeda operated as a network of Islamic extremists and Salafist jihadists. Al Qaeda’s long-term plans included the creation of a unified and global caliphate. The organisation was founded by Emir Osama bin Laden, whose undisguised goal was to become a strong state under the banner of the caliphate.
Country manager for United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Jakarta, Collie Brown, during the hugely successful 2018 Indonesia Defence Show highlighted the threat posed by this menace by stating that sub-Saharan Africa is at a risk of being infiltrated by drug peddlers with a terror inclination. This, being premised on vast porous borders, weak governments and extremely rampant corruption.
This got me thinking: Where was that Brazilian guy caught at the airport headed to with that haul of cocaine? Guilherme Sodre Da Salvia (22) from Sao Paulo was busted trying to smuggle cocaine at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport recently.
He was arrested upon landing at the airport aboard an Ethiopian Airways plane with the cocaine stashed in a jacket. He was charged with smuggling 4,3 kg of cocaine with an estimated street value of more than ZWL$36million.
But why are we so lethargic and so paranoid not to take action? Although in the past week the Zimbabwe Republic Police reported that it had arrested 143 people in a crackdown on drug peddlers and syndicates in Harare and Chitungwiza it could be a case of too little too late.
The ghetto is bustling with known “safe havens” for drug peddling. The cost to the fragile Zimbabwean economy is never in doubt. Resources that would have been used for critical capital expenditure are now being committed to the fight against drug abuse.
Youths are capitulating to the lure of groupthink, macro-economic reality and the endemic reality of corruption to abuse substances with impunity. We do not even have a dedicated entity to fight drug abuse outside of the visibly overwhelmed and structurally incapable CID Drug and Narcotics section.
A total revocation of systems is needed before our society is totally, and fatally, consumed by this drug menace. We must declare war on drugs, enforce both preemptive and deterrent strategies whilst capacitating institutions of the state to be in a position to react with vigour to this scourge.
The more we remain silent the more dire the situation gets. Lethargy begets lethargy. It is high time that those that are supposed to be enforcing their mandates, such as those who control drug procurement and distribution stamp their authority on most of our pharmacies, revoke their licences and ensure that those who allow their licences to be abused by those who buy prescriptive medicines are given lengthy jail terms.
Our youths are supposed to be the vanguard of the future, but the present reality is omnipresent evidence of systemic ignorance.
Our lawmakers must descend hard upon this calamity. We are in a fix and the earlier we take remedial measures the better.
It is heart-wrenching hearing stories, week in and week out, of our beloved youths succumbing to the after effects of histalix addiction.
Our law enforcers please up the ante. The chaos is dire. The situation is diabolical. The cry is genuine. Let’s descend hard upon this madness.
Sapien is a trade and security analyst