As Nacada dithers, who will stage anti-drugs war?
During a presidential function in Bomet a fortnight ago, Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot raised concerns about the increased abuse of drugs and high consumption of illicit liquor in the region.
Nearly in every function President William Ruto has attended in the larger Mt Kenya region since becoming the Head of State, many leaders have repeatedly, too, expressed discomfort with the untrammelled partaking of the killer drinks and narcotics.
I am yet to understand why it has to take the presence of the President for such a serious matter to be talked about? One gets the impression the politicians who are bringing this issue to the fore are as helpless as any other Kenyan.
Does it mean only the President has the capacity to fight the vices? What about the persons who have been handed government jobs with the mandate to deal with the matters?
Once upon a time, there was a State agency known as the National Authority on the Campaign against Drugs Abuse (Nacada). I refer to the national organ in the past tense because all is known about it nowadays is in name, especially when new officials have been appointed to replace others whose service delivery is not known to many.
It is within Nacada’s purview to fight consumption of narcotics and imbibing of dangerous alcohol as well as educate Kenyans on the ramifications of doing so.
As I have stated before, Kenya has a peculiar distinction in that we have always had the right people doing the wrong things and the wrong people doing the right things. Very rarely do we have the right people doing the right things at the right time as was once the case with the late Cabinet Minister John Njoroge Michuki.
Consumption of narcotics and banned substances is speedily on the increase today, especially among the youth. Strangely, the voice of Nacada, the State organ legally tasked with fighting such vices, is deafeningly missing, despite the loud public outcry. Nacada has failed Kenyans!
Millions of youths are today deeply immersed in the abuse of drugs; be they marijuana, heroin, or illicit lethal drinks. In schools, institutions of higher learning, parks, streets, villages, social and entertainment joints and many other open public places, the habits are brazenly being practiced with impunity with Nacada seemingly helpless or unconcerned.
While I concur the fight against drug abuse is the onus of everyone, Nacada bears the highest burden of responsibility. The agency needs to implement the existing laws instead of surrendering to rhetoric and unhelpful excuses while hiding its head in the sand.
It does not help the image of Nacada when the President is being asked in every public function he attends to personally intervene in stemming the vice yet the officers at the agency are massively remunerated from taxpayer’s money.
Nacada, in conjunction with the police and other officials within the National government should wake up from deep slumber and execute their mandate. A country that feeds on narcotics cannot develop. It soon will turn into a nation of zombies.
By all means, Nacada should not be seen to abet the open consumption of narcotics. It can do better than what it is doing at the moment. It can. It should. It must.
—The author is the Revise Editor, the People Daily