Muzanamombe to host anti-drug abuse campaigns

Muzanamombe said his motivation to join the anti-drug campaign stems from his desire to "save addicts with the light of God's word."

GOSPEL artist Benny Hadassah Muzanamombe, in partnership with the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works, the Zimbabwe Republic Police, and the Ministry of Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture, will host anti-drug abuse campaigns across the country. The campaigns will kick off in May with a focus on youth.

Muzanamombe said his motivation to join the anti-drug campaign stems from his desire to "save addicts with the light of God's word."

"As a gospel minister with a salvation-based calling, I am advocating for a product of salvation," he said.

"It would be in vain if the people, who should listen to my gospel are drunk. Therefore, the word of God requires me to save those addicts with the light of God's word and be a salty savour to their trouble. The agenda is to find souls amongst them for Christ, that is the kingdom of God idea above all."

Muzanamombe urged parents to step up their parenting obligations so that children have proper guidance to make good decisions and avoid the corrupting influence of bad company or friendships.

"My aim is also to discourage drug abuse wherever it emerges across all age groups," he continued.

"I will advise those who have not taken drugs to keep themselves free from the brutal grip of addiction. I will suggest to the youth that they can turn their creativity into lucrative business activities rather than channelling it into manufacturing illicit substances. Some are using basic food commodities to make drugs.

“The main goal is to ensure clean youthful energy is directed towards nation-building, with strong decision-makers capable of inheriting and pushing forth the progress we are working hard to achieve today. It would be a painful thing to find out that everything we are doing with all our energy and hard work will be left without custodians because we allowed our children to be swept away by the drug pandemic,” he said.

The gospel artist explained that the campaigns will feature free musical gatherings headlined by popular artists to attract young people.

"Health practitioners and stakeholders will then address the audience with action-oriented solutions to their problems, particularly the drug abuse issue," he said. "They will take turns with the musicians to both entertain and educate the audience. "We will also have government officials in every province and the Minister of State and Devolution deliver keynote addresses."

"The anti-drug abuse galas are beneficial because people will be educated and receive self-rehabilitation materials from our health institute partners," Muzanamombe explained. "While we hope for 100% drug-free communities, our awareness campaign will help those seeking freedom from drugs. Forcing people to rehabilitate without their consent will not help because they will likely relapse. "We are bringing forth an understandable approach so they can appreciate it and embrace our help. We can also work hard to ensure the drug supply is addressed, but the problem is bigger now because most addicts are manufacturing drugs at home. Blaming suppliers would be a sign of regression."

The gospel singer said they would be working with the Zimbabwe Psychological Association (ZPA) as a committed partner that  provides free counselling and rehabilitation for those in need. However, victims would need to fund their detoxification process unless they receive help from rehabilitation institutes or other institutions willing to fund them. Regardless, ZPA's services are available to assist them, and they have offered their help free of charge.

"The major problem is that many people don't believe the drug pandemic is that bad, or even a pandemic at all," Muzanamombe said. "Perhaps it's ingrained in Zimbabwean culture that we only address things when they become critical. However, the drug pandemic has already reached that point. The idea resonates with some people, but not others. You see, the people who sell drugs in our communities have control.

"Therefore, we must work hard to ensure these campaigns are successful," he continued. "It's not easy to penetrate communities, and funding makes it quite difficult because the people who are supposed to be your partners and facilitate this are also on the drug sellers' payroll. Reaching these communities is a challenge."

Muzanamombe urged influencers to use their voices to combat the epidemic before it becomes irreparable.

"As a generation and as citizens of our country, the government can no longer do this alone," he said. "I also appeal to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, along with the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, to consider incorporating drug awareness as part of the curriculum for students and career guidance at schools so that every child is informed."

The artist said that in addition to the campaigns he was hosting, he had created social media pages. For example, he created a Facebook page titled "The Anti-Drugs Advocate" where he will be posting progress reports, motivational slides, and campaign information. He will also be using his personal pages for the same advocacy.

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