Recent interceptions of huge drug consignments at sea and on land suggest Kenya has become one of the biggest ports of entry for traffickers moving contraband drugs from South America to Europe and North America.
The problem is so big that I see no point of listing the colossal amounts of drugs nabbed within the Kenyan territory over the years; nor enumerate the number of crooks who have been caught at our entry points.
I also see no reason to name names of big time, politically-connected, drug lords in the country since this information is in the domain of the government. Members of drug cartels have been exposed not only in Parliament but in numerous international reports. Some of them are occupying very senior positions in the political establishment. Kenyans know them.
But there are reasons why Kenya is a preferred trans-shipment point for drug traffickers. One is corruption. That connivance exists between international dealers and officials in government, especially in security and customs agencies is a matter of common knowledge.. Officials are compromised to look the other way as containers full of illicit goods roll past exit gates. Some of these drugs, including marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine, find their way into our neighborhoods, turning our children into zombies and even killing them.
Because of corruption, international drug barons find it easy to move freely in Kenya, As I write, three Polish drug lords are reportedly hiding in the country, and are undoubtedly, being aided and abetted by their local counterparts. The government of Poland wants them arrested and deported.
Two, immunity, We have had too many cases where large caches of drugs have been intercepted and people have been taken to court, but the story has ended there. Rarely do we hear of convictions. What we often see are individuals – most of them from disadvantaged communities – being hauled to prison for long periods of time for possessing small amounts of drugs. The big shots go scot-free. Our courts are also too liberal and often grant bail to foreign drug dealers who then abscond. Foreign cartels know this and find it safer to operate through or within the country.
Three, lack of political goodwill. Although we have strong, comprehensive laws, there is lack of commitment by the leadership in general. America has given us patrol boats for use in the Indian Ocean and it continues to collaborate with us on intelligence matters, but more funding dedicated commitment, and political goodwill, are needed from the government to wage a complete war.
Three, the government body mandated to formulate policies on drug trafficking and use – NACADA – is a toothless bull-dog; it barks but do not bite. It has completely failed in its job. This is evident from the large numbers of drug addicts in our towns. That is why NACADA should either be disbanded or be re-constituted; and be given a broad-based mandate to handle all matters of illicit drugs and not just the small matters of policing bangi and kumikumi dealers.
Expecting NACADA as presently constituted to take on the gigantic task of shutting down the international drug trafficking chain is like deploying a chihuahua puppy to guard the Central Bank.
And that is my say.