EFFORTS by the fifth phase government to eliminate narcotics trade and abuse are paying off, as a recent report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) indicated that the country has recorded a drastic decrease in the illicit business.
Commissioner for Corporate Service of the Drug Control and Enforcement Authority (DCEA), Mr Valite Mwashusa said in Dar es Salaam, yesterday, that according to this year’s UNODC report, Tanzania has managed to reduce importation of illicit drugs by 90 per cent.
He said that the cooperation between the agency, State organs and various institutions in the country has helped to reduce, to a larger extent, access and importation of drugs into the country.
“We have managed to control the main entry points used by drug traffickers to smuggle the narcotics into the country including seaports, airports and roads,” Commissioner Mwashusa said.
He added that Tanzania has been honored to host the twenty-eighth meeting of Heads of National Drug Law Enforcement Agencies (HONLEA), Africa, scheduled for next week in support of its anti-drug efforts.
“Tanzania has been chosen to host this important meeting due to the efforts by the fifth phase government to fight the illicit drugs business in the country ... the UNODC and other member States of the African Union (AU) resolved the meeting to be held in Tanzania, to support the country’s efforts to control illicit drugs,” Mr Mwashusa noted.
He said that the four-day meeting, set to commence on September 17 this year in Dar es Salaam, will draw 120 participants mainly from 54 member States of the African Union. The meeting will be graced by the Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa.
Mr Mwashusa said the meeting is aimed at sharing experience and design joint strategies for drug control.
“This is an opportunity for the country in the fight against narcotics and market our tourist attractions ... it is also a chance for the business community to sell their goods to the visitors,” he said.
In February, last year, President John Magufuli tasked Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa, who is the Chairperson of the Drug Control and Enforcement Authority (DCEA), to spearhead the crackdown on illicit drugs in the country.
Under the Drug Control and Enforcement Act 2015, the Premier automatically chairs the DCEA, with eight ministers serving as members of the anti-drugs authority.
Dr Magufuli maintained that the Drug Control and Enforcement Act 2015 that repelled the Drugs and Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Drugs Act, empowers government leaders, at all levels, to fight the social and economic menace. He was speaking shortly after swearing-in the DCEA Commissioner General, Rogers Siyanga.
Dr Magufuli accused drug barons of not caring about the effects of narcotics on the lives of people, but rather driven by greed for wealth which they use to bribe officials, to attain their goals. With Tanzania being mentioned as among transit hubs of illicit substances in the region, President Magufuli urged Tanzanians to support all people who are on the forefront to tackle the illicit trade.
He reiterated that no one should be spared in the fight against drugs, directing the new DCEA Commissioner General to work bravely in dealing with criminals involved in drug cartels.