AS the first term of the fifth phase government comes to an end, the war against illicit drugs is one of the areas that President Magufuli vowed to tackle earnestly, and statistics already show significant achievements have been made.
While in previous years drug barons could be lucky enough to escape law enforcers, the situation has been quite different in this first term of the fifth phase government. When inaugurating the 11th Parliament in November 2015 which he dissolved on June 16, this year, the president made his strong resolve to combat drugs abuse and trafficking.
“Drugs have become a major epidemic for our nation and the most affected group are young men and women. Many families have been affected and the workforce of the nation’s work has been seriously affected. We will unmask the network, especially of drug barons who are involved in these illegal deals,” President Magufuli told the House on November 20, 2015 Almost five years down the line, the government has come with a report on the achievements recorded in the fight, with statistics showing that drug trafficking into the country has been reduced by 90 per cent.
Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (Policy Coordination, Parliamentary Affairs, Labour Youth, Employment and Persons with Disabilities), Ms Jenista Mhagama (pictured), said that the Drug Control and Enforcement Authority (DCEA) in collaboration with various international institutions such as Nations Disarmament Commission (UNDC), Interpol, and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), managed to fight and disrupt major illicit drugs networks within and outside the country.
According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), report of 2019, the country has reduced drug trafficking into the country by 90 per cent. She said the country had recorded notable achievements in reducing drug trafficking into the country by 90 per cent but also DCEA has won major drug trafficking cases.
Ms Mhagama added: “Previously, it was difficult to win such cases, but this is an indication that the authority has performed well in the past five years from 2015 to 2020 by arresting and prosecuting drug dealers.” “We have witnessed the authority impounding not less than 188489.98 kilograms of bhang and also seized 124,080.33 kilograms of khat in a period of five years,” Ms Mhagama said. A total of 58,000.46 kilograms of cocaine and 635.57 kilos of heroin were also impounded during the five years of President John Magufuli’s administration.
The minister further explained that DCEA had also arrested 73,920 drug dealers over a period of five years and inspected 167 companies dealing with precursor chemicals and seized 480,000 litres and 22,145 kilograms of the chemicals which were imported without observing the required procedures.
DCEA, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender Elderly and Children and other anti-narcotic organisations had also improved rehabilitation facilities for drug addicts. She said in 2016, there were only three drug rehabilitation centers in the country which served 3,500 drug addicts but the number had increased to seven, attending 8,500 drug abusers