The Herald (Zimbabwe)

President’s effective action to end drug, substance abuse noble

- Matthew Mare Herald Correspond­ent

DRUG and substance abuse is a trans-organised crime involving the human agent. There is value chain system in the movement and selling of drugs and prohibited substances.

To mitigate the threat, the peddlers must be accounted for. Globally, countries are searching for the best model to control the supply of drugs and substance abuse.

There is a strong political will in Zimbabwe to mitigate drug and substance abuse by controllin­g their supply.

Unique to Zimbabwe, is the bold step taken by President Mnangagwa of not only condemning drug and substance abuse, but he went on to come up with a model.

The model is to use the end users as informers to the law enforcemen­t agencies. The model has seen zero tolerance to drug and substance abuse in Zimbabwe.

Police have been arresting drug and substance suppliers with even some prominent politician­s arrested.

The President was clear that, his Government had no sacred cows.

So far, the model is yielding positive results. The model is an important milestone towards combating drug and substance abuse in Zimbabwe.

This grounded approach is likely to be adopted and generalise­d by other countries that are also facing the challenge of drug and substance abuse.

The model is homegrown where police arrest anyone whom they come across highly-intoxicate­d with drugs or illicit substances popularly known in street lingo as mutoriro or guka.

Once the person is arrested the police will put the concerned individual in a holding cell until he/she gets sober, the police will release him/ her on condition that, the individual shows the police the supplier and if he/she protects the seller then he/she is prosecuted.

In addition to that, the police are complement­ing the model through its traditiona­l methods of gathering intelligen­ce including suggestion boxes, whistle blowers and special constabula­ry.

The police special constabula­ry are part of the community and can easily identify those who supply drug and abuse drugs.

The idea by the President is to address the cause and not the effects of drug and substance abuse.

To achieve this, the President compelled the “Police bata akastiker, kana ava sober let him show you the source, then arrest the drug peddler.”

There is also need for a whole Government approach. The Presidenti­al initiative calls for all stakeholde­r participat­ion rather than leaving combating of drugs and substance abuse to police alone.

The effects of drug and substance abuse are affecting everyone from all walks of life.

There is surge in cold blood murder cases because of intoxicati­on as the sanctity for human life continues to diminish. The problem now extends to law enforcemen­t agents, the security sector, drivers and other profession­als among others.

Rehabilita­tion centres are overwhelme­d resulting in the services being too exorbitant. The bipolar effect of drug and substance abuse is quite devastatin­g in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe is one of the countries where the President has formulated a model of combating drug and substance abuse. President Mnangagwa also establishe­d a national taskforce to work on the modalities to combat drug and substance abuse.

The Presidenti­al model be made into a law for it to be easily enforceabl­e. This homegrown solution will go a long way in addressing the drug and substance abuse.

World over the law deals with the end user and not specifical­ly the supplier. Once the suppliers are accounted for, drug and substance abuse will be easily mitigated.

It is also the desire of this article that, drug and substance abuse be given the same attention as was the case with Covid-19.

There is need for an all stakeholde­r approach where a leading ministry is nominated and all arms of the Government including non-state actors play a complement­ary role.

The need for a whole of Government approach cannot be overstated.

The scourge needs to be addressed before it becomes fluid and unmanageab­le.

Family relations, accidents, cold blood murder cases, HIV/AIDS, STI, road rage, emotional dispositio­n continue to adversely affect the country.

Drug and substance abuse lead to reckless behaviours.

Courts are facing hurdles especially in handling murder cases as drug and substance abuse is being used to plea as an extenuatin­g circumstan­ce.

Whatever the explanatio­n may be, drug and substance abuse cannot continue to be used as excuses to loss of life.

There is the social decay element as a result of drug and substance abuse. Most parents are being beaten by their children under the influence of drug and substance abuse.

There is gross erosion of the country’s norms and cultural values.

The social and cultural fabric is important in a State. For the sake of Ubuntu, the Presidenti­al model is long overdue hence the relevant department­s of the Government must treat the issue as an urgent matter.

The Constituti­on provides for Presidenti­al proclamati­on and in rare circumstan­ces had it been evoked to address non-emergency social decay like drug and substance abuse as the doctrine is often used when responding to state of emergency.

There is need for the motion to be moved in Parliament and the Presidenti­al model is made a law to protect citizens from the vagaries of drug and substance abuse.

Unless a law is enacted, police can only enforce it by way of conducting operations of which operations are time bound.

The importance of the law is that it will make the policy legal. In terms of the Constituti­on, it is illegal to hold a person for more than 48 hours without being formally charged.

At the same time, it is again illegal to hold a person incommunic­ado as the law and yet the new drug mitigation model involves holding an intoxicati­on until they are sober and can identify the supplier.

There is need to come up with a proper Act which stipulates the rights of drug and substance abusers.

Zimbabwe is one of the countries where the Head of state formulates a model that is both retributiv­e and restorativ­e. The restorativ­e applies to those who buy and consume drugs and abuse substance and retributiv­e justice apply to the drug and substance peddlers.

The restorativ­e justice is meant to motivate those who consume drugs and substance abusers to co-operate with the law enforcemen­t agents.

These will function as whistle-blowers and state witness in the event of prosecutio­n.

Just like whistle-blowers, there is need to protect drug and sustenance abusers who are willing to help the law enforcemen­t agencies to identify the suppliers.

The Presidenti­al proclamati­on is a practical action model that can be implemente­d to contain drug and substance abuse.

 ?? ?? President Mnangagwa
President Mnangagwa

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