A major campaign against drug suppliers has been launched by the police with Government backing in Harare, with 10 people arrested in the first hours yesterday.
“No to dangerous drugs and illicit substances” came as Government urged the police to redouble efforts against drug lords supplying unwanted substances to youths.
The Government sees rounding up drug kingpins would help save young people, many of whom were struggling with drugs.
Police in Harare will now man roadblocks and stop and search motorists and even passengers boarding vehicles.
Early in the launch yesterday, more than 10 people were arrested after they were found in possession of dangerous drugs such as mbanje and broncleer cough syrups popularly known as bronco.
The suspects, who are now assisting with investigations, will appear in court soon.
One of the suspects, Munyaradzi Mudyavaranzi, was found in possession of 50 bottles of Broncleer cough syrup while boarding a private vehicle.
He alleged that the couch syrup had been sent to him from someone in South Africa.
Another drug dealer was found with a small bag containing several sachets of mbanje.
Police will also be arresting users, but largely to lead them to where they bought the drugs.
Addressing journalists, permanent secretary for Harare Metropolitan Province Mr Tafadzwa Muguti said during the launch yesterday they were also educating motorists and the public on the dangers of drug abuse among the youths.
“What we have done today (yesterday) is just an awareness campaign,” he said.
“The roadblock was meant to educate the general citizens on the plight of drugs within Harare Province. As you know Harare Province is now becoming a haven of drug lords. This is our response to the drug lords as Harare Metropolitan Province.
“We are fed up and the citizens are also fed up. Together with the Zimbabwe Republic Police we have basically responded not only by raising more awareness, but also by setting up strategic points during this operation where we will be able to basically intercept. As you saw today we have managed to capture a number of drug lords who were actually transporting using passenger vehicles, using commuter omnibuses.”
Mr Muguti appealed to the public to report anyone dealing in drugs at any nearest police station, as some drug lords were using high density suburbs as safe havens, targeting people from the ages of 10 to 40 and 45 years.
“They are targeting even school children and we are also appealing to all headmasters and headmistresses, principals within the province to please report any signs that children might be taking drugs within schools. We are keen to end this pandemic, this evil which has come within our society. We are hoping that together with the media fraternity, together with all stakeholders, we can finally win and chase out this evil outside our homes,” Mr Muguti said.
Authorities were aware that some drug dealers have even gone to the extent of setting up offices and structures so that they can easily distribute drugs.
He appealed to night club owners not to let children below the age of 18 enter their premises as some of them were being introduced to drugs in such places.
Owners who breached the regulations risked being arrested and have their licences revoked, he said.
Mr Muguti said the police were going to arrest anyone found intoxicated so that he or she will provide them with information on where they were buying the drugs.
Officer Commanding Harare Province, Commissioner Wonder Tembo, said they were equally concerned about issues to do with drugs and they had come up with various measures to ensure that there was order.
“So many school children are being involved in drug abuse and we are encouraging them to stop,” he said. “We will not allow that to continue happening because it is destroying our nation. Remember, these are the future leaders and if it continues like that it means we will not have leaders tomorrow.”
Comm Tembo said police will also continue to conduct operations and awareness campaigns against drug abuse.
Police had already identified safe houses and suspected drug dealers and will soon raid them, while police intelligence teams have been heavily deployed on the ground.