Sustain battle against drugs and other vices


TANZANIANS would benefit immensely, if they exploited fully, the wisdom inherent in the Kiswahili saying ‘majuto mjukuu’.

Translated liberally, it cautions that, if we don’t address problems or crises promptly, we would suffer grave consequences that wouldn’t be easy to fix when we spring into action belatedly. A simple illustrative scenario is to dismiss offhand as harmless, a pimple that consequently becomes a difficult-to-manage boil.

Much public attention, at home, and to a considerable degree beyond Tanzanian borders, is focused on the government-driven war against narcotic drugs, whose major components include consumption, trafficking and trading.

As opposed to the past, when there was a glaring mismatch between declarations and actions, discernible and demonstrable action characterizes the current government’s approach to what had blown up into a crisis of almost unmanageable proportions.

Which explains the heightened interest of most wananchi, who had grown accustomed to the lukewarm approach of the by-gone era. Factored into the war is its cross-cutting nature, whereby, the political position, social status, family links, and whatever other criterion, aren’t a basis for any suspect to be spared of the judicial process.

The distinction between small timers and big dealers has been neutralized. President John Magufuli’s recent declaration that, even if his wife Janet were to be a suspect, the relevant organs should arrest her, sums up the government’s no-holds-barred determination to stamp out the crime. Predictably, cynics – of which Tanzania has a generous, albeit unwelcome share – are poking fun at the anti-narcotics drive.

These, naturally, include hitherto beneficiaries of the drug business. But given the no-nonsence Magufuli-style administration, the cynicism is as inconsequential as billows of smoke that subsequently peter out in the atmosphere.

The benefits of the mission’s success would include protecting the young generation – a crucial bank of resourceful future builders – from becoming a community of zombies as a consequence of long-time addiction.

Another is to demystify drug dealings as a sure generator of fabulous wealth, whereby innocent, struggling individuals strive to copy “successful” earlier players who own posh houses, top-of-the-range cars, big businesses, and globe trot frequently.

Yet another relates to youngsters disillusioned by joblessness and wrecked career prospects; as well as those tormented by shaky businesses and marriages. At best, they perceive drugs to be pain-killers, and, at worst, as constituting a slow but sure killer, and therefore convenient detachment from an unlivable world !

We are confident there would be no let-up in the anti-drugs war, as there wouldn’t, in combating vices that include corruption, smuggling, blackmail, shoddy contracts, poor service delivery, poor workplace conditions, superstition, albino killings, teenage pregnancies and forced marriages. This must be a consistent drive for enhancing social welfare, economic
progress and national pride.

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