LETTERS: Change tack in East Africa’s war on narcotics

Drug trafficking thrives in East Africa due to porous borders. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Traffickers are now using African ports to transport drugs across their networks, a new report by the US State Department claims.

The Dar es Salaam port, for example, is said to be the region’s point of contact, which facilitates the movement of narcotics to countries like Kenya, Uganda and Europe.

This is made possible due to its porous borders with inadequate port security and its long coastline. The major drug being trafficked across this port is heroin.

The Kenyan port gets access to heroin from Southwest Asia through direct shipment on the Indian Ocean.

A major part of this commodity leaves for the European market while the rest mostly penetrates the coastal region, adding up the number of dependents.


Even though both the Kenyan and Tanzanian governments are trying to fight drug trafficking along their waters, the business seems to be booming.

The few drug traffickers who have been arrested on claims of engaging in the trade have neither made the number of traffickers nor the supply any lesser.

Kenya’s Anti-Narcotics Unit must impose stringent measures on people who are found guilty of trafficking and selling of narcotics within the country, especially at the coastal region, since it is from here that the shipments dock before they are later supplied to other regions.

Their officers should also not allow themselves to be bribed so that they can allow these products to come into the country.

There should also be a joint effort between the drug enforcement agencies from the eastern African region so that they can be able to fight the trafficking, selling and use of narcotics within the region.

It will be of no use if one country is on the radar against these traffickers while the rest of the states in the region are seated, relaxing and seeing their citizens getting destroyed.

They should look at the damages that come with the use of these narcotics on their citizens, especially the youths, who become dependent on them and cannot engage in any productive activities that can benefit their societies.

It is also through the use of these drugs that people acquire diseases such as HIV/Aids, which is easily transferred through the sharing of needles and having unprotected sex due to the user’s impaired state of minds after the use of these drugs.

Teresa Onkoba via e-mail