JACK ZIMBA, Lusaka
SOME residents of the notorious Chibolya township in Lusaka have backed calls by Minister of Home Affairs Stephen
Kampyongo for a clean-up exercise to rid the high-density residential area of drug dealers.
There is no asking the extent of drug abuse and trade in Chibolya. Walking through the squalid township, one can see young men freely selling cannabis in dishes, while others freely smoke the drug.
Last week, Mr Kampyongo expressed concern over the sale of drugs and drug abuse in Chibolya, and called on security agencies to conduct a clean-up exercise in the township.
Three years ago, a combined team of police and Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) raided Chibolya in a clean-up exercise, arresting scores of suspected drug dealers.
However, area councillor Lackson Sakala said six months after that raid, the drug dealers returned to Chibolya to continue with the illicit business.
Mr Sakala described the situation as “very serious”, requiring urgent attention.
“Right now when I pass through Chibolya I find that it is business as usual. People are selling drugs publicly in dishes and nobody is trying to stop them. When I go there and try to stop them, they insult me because I’m not protected,” he says.
He said his efforts to sensitise residents against the illicit sale of drugs and drug abuse through drama and workshops have failed.
He said there should be a permanent police wing stationed in Chibolya to stop the illicit drugs business where even cocaine is traded openly.
He said because of the rampant drug abuse in Chibolya, it has made the area unsafe for other law-abiding residents.
“Even as area councillor I’m afraid to drive into Chibolya,” he said.
He said relevant authorities should treat the drugs situation in Chibolya as a matter of urgency.
He said the illicit drugs trade has given Chibolya Township a bad name.
“This place is less than a mile from town, remove the drugs and people will come and build better houses in Chibolya,” he said.
And a resident, Benson Lengwe, who has lived in Chibolya for 16 years, said police should work with local residents when they conduct their raid because they know the people perpetrating the illegal business.
And on the wood glue called Bostik, which is widely abused by street kids, DEC spokesperson Theresa Katongo said the Commission cannot arrest those selling the glue because it does not fall under the list of narcotics or banned substances.
One teenage girl found sniffing on the glue said she buys it from a woman in Chibolya.