East African countries must act on illicit drug trade

Posted on July 14, 2014 11:19 am

The flow of illicit drugs into and through the East African region poses possibly the gravest threat to its society faces. It seems that every month or so, the regional narcotic enforcement agencies carries out a major drug bust with latest being early this week by Kenyan authorities. That there are so many drugs in circulation is increasingly worrying. In the latest incident, Kenya security officers busted shipment at the coastal waters and foreigners were arrested for their alleged involvement in a drug haul and possibly distribution ring.The capture of the foreigners by Kenyan authorities may lead the agency to capture other people involved in the same network. Allegations that a minority officers within security agencies are involved with drug distribution are disturbing. It can only be hoped that the those accused individuals arrested by Kenyan authorities were acting on their own and are not part of a larger drug ring that has infected the institution.

Notwithstanding that, the security agencies and other parts of the security forces must root out drug usage and distribution within their ranks with speed and efficiency. Not only is the case a blot on the image and reputation of such institutions, it poses a moral dilemma for the East African region as a whole. Drugs are now easily available across the region according to last year’s US state department report on drug trafficking in Africa. If left unchecked, the usage and consumption of illicit drugs will spread quickly and harm East African youth. The Kenyan Police forces across the region have promised to take strict action against the suspects. The full force of the law must be brought against them if found guilty.Kenya of course, is not the only country in the region that faces this menace. Neighboring countries like Uganda and Tanzania are also having to deal with the issue as the region becomes a focus of international drug cartels. The only way the East African countries can stop this flow is to stay vigilant, guard its borders and have tough laws that can act as a deterrent.

Contador Harrison