Saturday, March 4, 2017
Crackdown on drug dealers, users, a successful move, says PM
A SEVEN-month investigation by authorities over illegal drug pushers and users across the country resulted in over 10,000 arrests and the seizure of millions of shillings worth of drugs. Prime Minister, Mr Kassim Majaliwa, has said that at least 11,503 suspects were arrested between July 2016 and January this year. A total of 9,811 of them were suspected. The premier went on to explain that a total 974 suspects have pending cases in courts of law and as 238 have been acquitted. “The police in collaboration with the Drug Control and Enforcement Commission are also investigating cases of 478 suspects who were arrested during the crackdown,” the premier said. The operation against illicit drugs has been well received with general support from the public. The prime minister explained that despite the president appointing antidrug cruiser last month “underground work to combat narcotic drug has been amplified across the country.” Addressing cabinet Ministers on Thursday this week in Dodoma, the Premier noted that, since the appointment of the new Commissioner General, Mr Rodgers Sianga, 76 suspects have been taken into custody. “The arrested are under investigation.
The initial report indicates that two third of the suspects will be guilty,” he said. “Most of those arrested were found with incriminating evidence.” The latest figures released by the Chief Government Chemist, Professor Samwel Mangele, on Thursday, which highlighted the agency expects to handle almost three times the number of drug samples this year compared to last year as a result of the intensified crackdown on narcotics. Prof Manyele said at a press conference held in Dar es Salaam that the agency is likely to handle 150,000 drug samples this year, an increase of 250 per cent from last year’s 60,000 samples. “Hundreds of hectares of cannabis sativa (bhang) have been destroyed as a result of the ongoing anti-narcotic drugs crusade,” he noted. Meanwhile the Prime Minister defended the government’s operation against producers, consumers and distributors of alcohol packaged in plastic sachets saying it aims at protecting the youth some of whom have been trapped by the “cheap” product. “Students and the majority youths are falling into these cheap products. It’s unfortunate that unverified beverages were being packaged using approved labels to enter into the local market... “This is unfair and we cannot let it continue,” he said directing law enforcers to intensify the operation to protect the young generation. He said the overnight operation has as a result found a number of factories not paying taxes.