That Mombasa and by extension the coast of Kenya has become a hotbed of drug trade is no longer a secret. A corrupt police force, powerful cartels and political links all contribute to increased drug trafficking in Mombasa.
They own flashy cars, live in posh houses and splash their money around the city. If word on the street is to be believed, they have the police in their pocket. Former Inspector General of Police Kimaiyo must have been frustrated with his officers to the extent that he disbanded the Anti Narcotics Unit, transferred all the officers and shut down its offices.
The drug problem is so rampant, residents even accuse some of the County Askaris of being “Maunga” a term used to describe addicts due to their flour like substances they use. In places like Kisauni, Shanzu, Likoni and Mtwapa, the number of Maunga has gone up. At the Shanzu stage, frequent fights between the addicts and Matatu crew breakout due to the “stage levy” the addicts are charging.
During a recent crackdown on drug peddlers in Bondeni and Tudor, 36 suspected peddlers were arrested among them an Administration Policeman. Mary, a resident of Bamburi blames most of the crime in the neighborhood on the Maunga said,
“They will snatch your bag, break into your house and they even steal from school children”.
From the look of things, the masters of the trade are not relenting. They have now gone for the county commissioner who intimated that there’s a plot to drag his name into the trade and ruin his credibility. A man who had been arrested on suspicions of drug peddling claimed he was Mr. Marwa’s son.
“The man was prepared on what to say. He was funded to intimidate me by involving my name. He was giving contradictory information at the police station. At one time, he said he was my son but later said he was my brother.”
Politician Farah Maalim also threw a spanner into the debate by claiming that high ranking leaders in Kenya were drug barons.
“I was with Nacada boss Mututho who told me that five governors and 37 MPs could be involved in the trade. Where are we heading?” asked Mr Maalim
This brings into focus the task we have when it comes to dealing with the drugs menace. It is a difficult task that has got even the police killed. It is a business that has deeply entangled law enforcement and the leadership.
In cognizance of the high number of drug addicts in the county, Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir and County Governor Ali Hassan Joho have set up a trust fund at the Reach Out Rehabilitation center in Likoni. The fund will ensure that all drug addicts from Mvita get free treatment and further support post rehabilitation. Rescuing the youth from drug addiction will have an overall positive effect on the security and productivity of Mombasa.
However, the efforts of many will not realized as long as drug lords live and thrive within Mombasa. Over to the law enforcement.