Youths demand life sentences for drug peddlers

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Youth Advocates Zimbabwe director Tatenda Songore

BY TAFADZWA KACHIKO
SEVERAL youth organisations have called for imposition of a life sentence on drug peddlers, but said corruption was the biggest threat to elimination of drug abuse in the country.

Last week, President Emmerson Mnangagwa warned illicit drug dealers while addressing party supporters in Chitungwiza where he said they should stop the illicit activities.

Youth Advocates Zimbabwe director Tatenda Songore told NewsDay that life imprisonment would be deterrent enough for drug peddlers.

“These drug peddlers are destroying the lives of youths. Some youths end up losing their lives. But for this to be truly achieved, there is need to eliminate corruption in the community because there are scenarios where these drug peddlers bribe the police to evade arrest or they get arrested only to be set free,” Songore said.

“We need to ensure the youths say no to drugs so that drug peddlers will have nowhere to sell them. In Chitungwiza there are no recreational centres for the youth, but there are beerhalls. Young people need to be empowered.”

Shamwari Yemwanasikana advocacy and research co-ordinator Rudo Magwanyata said: “Life sentence is justified because drug abuse and trade has damaged our societies. Drug abusers are stealing money to purchase them. We need a society where women can walk at night without fear.”

Magwanyata said drug abuse was bad for the girl child as she could be exploited while drugged.

Vana Vedu Trust director Chipo Mahamba said:  “Drug lords keep on luring young people back to taking drugs. Some households where parents are outside the country are being used as bases for keeping and selling drugs.”

Mahamba said rehabilitation centres should be established where youths can access information and get services freely.

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