Members of the team set up on the national level to fight the spread and use of drugs have urged those working in different institutions including the government, education, health and security in Kirehe district to upgrade measures of fighting against drugs.
This call comes while from February to August 2018; members of the team for the fight against drug spread and abuse are on a tour in different parts of the country and hold discussions with leaders in different institutions.
Dr. Yvonne Kayiteshonga the mental health division manager of Rwanda Biomedical Center, who was the head of the delegation visiting Kirehe district on 04 May 2018, urged leaders to cooperate in preventing and eradicating drugs because they are harmful to health.
She said, “Let us all take drugs as a serious problem because of their negative impacts. The wealth of our country is its healthy people who have not been addicted to drugs. We are asking them for cooperation so that drug spread and smuggling are prevented.”
She added that Kirehe district has a big number of cannabis abuse according to reports.
“If necessary, the law will be made stricter, but if our country has succeeded in eradicating grass thatched houses, how can it fail to eradicate drugs?”
Dr. Kayiteshonga also urged leaders from different institutions to remind citizens that it is prohibited to give alcoholic beverages and other narcotic drugs to small children.
“Parents who think that they are doing no harm in giving beer to children, that is not true. Ignorance is what is going to make us destroy our own children. A child can drink water for water is life.”
During these discussions, national prosecutor Hérmogene Higaniro talked about the way drug related crimes were repeatedly recorded and explained how they affect the country’s economy.
Higaniro said that courts dealt with 2196 trials from the files that were handed over to courts from 2012.
However, he noted that year after year these kinds of crimes accelerate to the extent that in 2017 alone about 5,584 trials were processed. They were for those who were convicted of drug related crimes.
Meanwhile, from 2018 up to the end of April 382 files of people with drug related crimes were recorded.
Higaniro says that it is sad that Kirehe district is the first district in Rwanda for drug related crimes especially cannabis and illicit brews. “Kirehe is usually the first district. It is obviously not a pride for the district, we are all here. It therefore requires serious measures that you are going to take before you leave here on order to fight these crimes.”
Maj. Alphonse Nkwaya, the head of local security guard in Kirehe district said that there are program that have been put in place in order to prevent drugs from neighboring countries and the region which continue to enter Rwanda. Yet, he said that there are still obstacles.
“We have set measures to prevent drugs especially cannabis from entering Rwanda, but the problem is that the only border we have is Rusumo while our six sectors reach at Akagera River. This river forms our border between Rwanda and Tanzania where cannabis is grown. A lot of cannabis is caught in those sectors and it is smuggled into here because there are no known borders,’ he said.
Among the measures in place, Nkwaya mentioned cooperatives who are in control of Akagera river. There are using boats with the police all in place to prevent drug from entering the country.
Another thing Nkwaya mentioned is that information is given on time.
“I think it is thanks to high security that our district catches at least more than a hundred kilograms every month.”
Leaders of Kirehe district urged the team to make a step forward and hold discussions with neighboring countries where illicit drugs such as cannabis and illicit brews are used saying it is where a sustainable solution will come from.
Dr. Yvonne Kayiteshonga who was the head of this team promised Kirehe leaders that this program is shared with many ministries including the ones in charge of relations with countries in the East African Community where she said that this point will be raised.
Kirehe is one of other districts that form borders with neighboring countries. Those districts are believed to be a destination of drugs crossing into Rwanda from countries where drugs are grown and used publicly.