New campaign against drugs to be launched
The Minister of Youth and ICT, Jean Philibert Nsegimana, has declared war on drug abuse. “There is no more time to show mercy to drug dealers, they have been warned enough”, he said during a press conference on Tuesday, in which a new anti-drugs campaign starting next Saturday was announced.
This declaration follows some mechanisms the ministry has established to fight drug abuse, including the creation of an ad hoc committee assigned to implement the campaign Ijisho ry’umuturanyi (neighbor’s eye). “My committee has six months from now to create a Rwanda free from drug abuse,” said bishop Alex Birindabagabo, the chairman of the committee. “We believe that by November, we will have succeeded.”
According to Birindabagabo, in 2006 a similar campaign was conducted in Eastern province in Nyagatare, Gatsibo and Kayonza districts, where the consumption of the home-grown brew Kanyanga is widespread. The result was a decrease of the consumption within two months.
Charles Kabanda, a member of the committee, said that the efforts would focus mainly on sensitization through the use of posters, billboards, stickers, etc. “We will also use documentaries showing the consequences of drug,” he said. The new anti-drugs campaign will also make use of former drugs abusers to share their experiences with the youth who are still involved in drug abuse.
According to Rose Mary Mbabazi, the permanent secretary in the ministry of youth and ICT, the fight against drugs is not the sole responsibility of the police. “People need to bear in mind that before the police takes action, communities needs to stand up against this because it’s our children who are involved. Let’s save their lives,” Mbabazi remarked.
Rwandan law distinguishes two categories of drugs, namely hard drugs and drinks (mainly adulterated beer). Cannabis, heroin (mugo in Kinyarwanda), cocaine and Diazepam are classified in hard drugs, whereas beverages such as kanyanga, muriture, mukecuru and Chief-Waragi are also considered as drugs.