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TANZANIA AT 60: Great strides made in fighting illicit drugs

TANZANIA AT 60: Great strides made in fighting illicit drugs

TANZANIA has made great strides in the fight and control of drug trafficking and use in the past 60 years of independence that led to the arrest of 45,784 suspects.

The country has also managed to improve provision of services to drug addicts including establishment of centres to accommodate the victims and rehabilitation centres

The development followed the efforts by the Drug Control and Enforcement Authority (DCEA) which was officially established in February 2017 taking over from the Drug Control Commission.

Since its establishment in 2017, DCEA in collaboration with other security organs managed to arrest a total of 45,784 suspects, 356,563kilograms of illicit drugs as well as 628.75 acres of cannabis farms said DCEA Commissioner General Gerald Kusaya.

Addressing a press conference in Dar es Salaam on Friday, Commissioner Kusaya said out of the total suspects 2,231 were found with heroin, 502 Cocaine, 37,743 cannabis and the remaining 5,308 were possessing khat.

He said, the commission netted 1125.41 kilograms of Heroin, cocaine (26.67kgs), Cannabis (199,740kg), Khat (97,640 kgs), Precursor chemicals 57,600 kgs as well as 431kg of methamphetamine.

He further explained that, a total of 434,684 kilograms of Bang and 170,760 kilograms of Khat were netted between 2011 and September 2021.

“This shows that there is a high consumption of Bhang among all other illicit drugs, we are working hard day and night to curb the challenge,” he explained.

Speaking of the industrial illicit drugs, Mr Kusaya said between 2011 and 2021, the Authority seized a total of 2,192.9 kilograms of Heroin, 390.8 kilograms of Cocaine as well as 431.02 kilograms of methamphetamine.

In April this year, DCEA in collaboration with the Navy force command of the Tanzania People's Defence Force (TPDF) arrested seven Iran nationals who were ferrying 504.36 kgs of heroin and 355 kg of methamphetamine along the Indian Ocean in Lindi region.

The consignment was netted at KilwaMasoko area, in Kilwa District, Lindi region as it was ferried along the Indian Ocean in dhow christened Al Arbo, making a record of huge packages of illicit drugs being netted at once since independence.

On executing the Drug Control and Enforcement Act, the Authority filed a total of 6,894 cases in different courts within the country.

He said, a total of 336 cases were concluded whereas the government has won 243 of them.

Other achievements that DCEA has recorded ahead commemoration of 60 years of independence include the dissolution of a network of drug dealers.

“This has been attained through cooperation with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Interpol, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and National Crime Agency (NCA),” he noted.

He added further that Tanzania has managed to curb importation of illicit drugs by over 90 per cent.

He said, Tanzania has also made a huge progress in controlling irregularities in the importation of 304,513 liters of liquids and 22.143 tons of precursor chemicals and curbing importation of illicit drugs by over 90 per cent.

Control of irregularities in importation of Precursor chemicals, has enabled the country to be appointed to train nine countries on techniques on curbing importation of narcotic chemicals.

A list of countries includes Rwanda, Burundi, Madagascar, Zambia, Malawi, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Eritrea and Mauritius. Tanzania has formed a trilateral planning cell with Mozambique and South Africa on effectively fighting drug trafficking and consumption.

Apart from arresting drug dealers the authority in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children has managed to improve provision of services to drug addicts.

“In 2011 there were three centers that were accommodating 3,500 victims, but now a number of centers have increased to 11 serving 10,565 drug addicts each day,” he said, adding  plans are in place to increase 4 satellite centers in Dar es Salaam at Kigamboni, Segerea, Tageta and  Mbagala.

Other achievement include establishment of  establishment of 31 sober houses in Kilimanjaro,  Tanga, Dar es Salaam,  Coast Region,  Dodoma, Morogoro, Iringa,  Mwanza, Kagera, Tabora and Arusha as well as  preparing  guidelines  for management  of Sober  Houses  in Tanzania.

“We have also been able to table in the parliament an annual of the country’s status of drug abuse, marking the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking as well as provision of public education on effects of drugs to 10 million Tanzanians,” he added, calling for cooperation on ending the illicit trade.

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Author: DEOGRATIUS KAMAGI

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