School pupils (uwezonews)

School pupils (uwezonews)

Mama Salma a Mvita resident received a call from the police after her form 2 son was found wondering in Old Town during school hours. She found her son, who was okay had skipped classes that day. She was puzzled as to why the police got involved in the case of a truant pupil. She learned that teenage students such as her son are getting involved in a serious crime of acting as carriers for peddlers who need to move their substances from one point to another.

To the peddlers, the students are ideal carriers as they rarely attract legal enforcement’s attention in their school uniform. Also, there are also many students within the town and it is impossible to search all of them as they move about. The students are given sh500 to transport the drugs from one point to another.

Parents are not aware how this starts but peer pressure is one of the ways new students are recruited into the transportation business. In findings published in a research paper he wrote, 75 percent of the head teacher respondents in the County stated that students were greatly influenced by peer pressure to abuse drugs and other related substances.

According to the National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse chairman John Mututho,

“About 50.3 per cent of the respondents reported that students consumed bhang in their schools whereas 56.3 per cent reported that prescription drugs were being abused in their schools.”

The danger of these student transporters turning into suppliers for their peers is imminent as other places are now grappling with similar problems. Punjab in India and Jamaica have seen similar trends where students were initially use as ‘mules’ before turning into suppliers and flooding the school system with narcotics leading to teenaged addicts.

To Mama Salma’s relief, her son was clean and was let go. However, the police appealed to her to keep a close watch on her children for abnormal or suspicious behavior such as excess money and unexplained absences from home or school.

Recently, a nominated member of county assembly moved a motion to deal with drug peddling in the county in recognition to the destruction that drugs are wrecking to the youth of Mombasa.

Veronica Onjiro in her research paper on factors influencing the use of drugs in pupils identified vendors selling sweets and food as another source of drugs to pupils. To counter this, schools have stopped vendors from selling food stuffs to students and some have moved to start offering lunch to children.

This move is being supported by the Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir who has helped several schools build kitchens through the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) kitty.  On the 5th of June, he officially opened a kitchen for yet another school in Mvita,  Abdalla Farsy Girls.