Drugs and substance abuse: Mabhanditi hitmaker Seh Calaz’s urgent plea to government

Seh Calaz

Renowned Zimdancehall musician Tawanda Mumanyi, popularly known as Seh Calaz, has expressed concern over the slow government response to the country’s escalating drug and substance abuse problem. In a passionate social media post, the Mabhanditi hitmaker urged the government to take immediate action and implement practical measures to combat drug abuse and supply, particularly among the youth.

Seh Calaz emphasized that mere rhetoric through television, radio, speeches, and social media campaigns was insufficient. He called for concrete steps to halt the epidemic, stating, “We know who sells them (drugs) and where they sell it. Mutoriro is now a pandemic.” The artist further lamented that drug abuse was prevalent not only among musicians, producers, fans, disc jockeys, bloggers, and the youth but also among civil servants, highlighting the urgency of the situation.

Speaking to NewsDay Life & Style, Seh Calaz expressed his frustration with the slow pace of government efforts, stating that while the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) was not idle, there had been no significant change in drug-related activities. Singing songs and promoting the slogan “say no to drugs” was insufficient, he argued, urging the government to intensify its efforts.

However, Seh Calaz did not disclose whether he was willing to provide information to the police regarding drug suppliers or lead them to potential suspects. He suggested that those who consume drugs or live in close proximity to drug-selling areas are more likely to possess such knowledge.

In August 2022, Seh Calaz had already appealed to the youth to abandon drug use, particularly crystal meth. Recent incidents, such as the arrest of two Chitungwiza sisters found in possession of crystal meth, and a viral video showing minors consuming alcohol in central Harare, have drawn attention to the severity of the issue. The ZRP, in response to the National Committee on the Elimination of Drugs and Substance Abuse, has taken public action by naming suspected drug peddlers and intensifying efforts to apprehend drug lords and suppliers.

Some of the recently named and shamed drug peddlers include: Evans Dube, Leeroy Bruce Tungama, Gift Maunda, Tinashe Murenzvi, Nokhutaba Sibanda, Lindiwe Mhlanga, Onita Dube, David Dhidha, Raccbi Matekenya, Shylin Maredza, Anymore Chiseko, Tawanda Sibindi, Tinashe Nyakunzu, Zenzo Mhlanga, Simbarashe Mukucha, Hilary Motsi, Thembekile Zulu, Ronald Mhlanga, Honest Ndlovu, Linda Sibanda, Salatine Dzangare, Mercy Muzulu, Hitler Tafadzwa Jungura, Ellen Munetsi, Christina Tsikwa, Bobby Kambangura, Tafadzwa Tambudzai, Pride Jeferry Machidza, Alabi Braima, Khulekani Moyo, Nomatter Muchemwa, Marry Muchemwa, Attorney Rudo,Bonface Mufundisi, Joseph Muleya, Nyaradzai Chipfuman, Kirt Ndlovu, Cleopas Moyo, Cohen Nyakarenga, Letina Jinjike, Brenda Jinjike and Phaeteon Mutiyaya.

Substance abuse among Zimbabwean adolescents and young people is a growing concern, according to a Unicef report published in October of the previous year. The report revealed that cannabis (mbanje) was the most commonly abused substance, followed by cough syrup, crystal meth, illegal alcohol, pharmaceuticals, crack, cocaine powder, and heroin.

As the nation grapples with the ravaging effects of drug abuse, Seh Calaz’s plea for swift and decisive action serves as a reminder that more needs to be done to curb this destructive trend. It is now up to the government and law enforcement agencies to heed this call and implement effective strategies to protect the well-being of Zimbabwe’s youth and the wider society.

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