Top Stories / 2017 Elections
Saturday, 01 Oct 2016 16:06 EATnewsdesk@kenyafreepress.com
The campaign against drug abuse is emerging as a top campaign issue in Nyandarua County ahead of the 2017 elections. Last week, an aspiring senator led a mammoth community meeting dubbed 'Tuachane na Ulevi, Tujenge Taifa' in Ol Kalou Town where he rallied hundreds of youths.
Mr Macharia Mukua, who has traversed the county campaigning for the senator's position, decried the high rates of alcoholism among the youths. The meeting was a sensitization town hall and culminated in the clean-up of Ol Kalou Town.
Mr Mukua urged the national government and county government to jointly establish public drug rehabilitation centres in the county, saying the absence of such centres had seen youths recently rescued from drug abuse relapse.
He also urged the county government to support recovering addicts who have formed self help groups to access capital for small businesses. The meeting brought together hundreds of people, including recovering drug addicts.
While this was the first time an aspiring politician had made the issue of drug abuse centre stage, other leaders have previously used the issue at political events. The absence of a drug rehabilitation centre has been identified as a failure of the Nyandarua county government, given the high prevalence of drug abuse in the region.
Community leaders have expressed concern over the rise in the use of hard drugs since the recent campaign by Central Kenya leaders against second generation alcohol. In Kinangop, former alcoholics who were rescued from the vice have turned to hard drugs, according to local leaders.
With the rise in gambling, many youths who previously abused drugs are reported to be getting into crime as a means of raising money for betting. Police in the region have also reported increased usage of cannabis among the youths since the successful crackdown on second generation brews last year.
During a recent meeting in Haraka that brought together the provincial administration and other government departments, residents of Kinangop expressed their concern over the rising cases of crime involving hard drugs, theft and betting.
Kinangop MP Stephen K.K. Mburu censured the county government for failing in its pledge to support recovering alcoholics. Hon. Mburu says that other counties in Central Kenya such as Kiambu, Nyeri and Murang’a have all built rehabilitation centres or provided the costs of rehabilitation.
“It is quite disappointing that our county has never built a single rehabilitation centre or helped the recovering addicts to initiate acceptable sources of livelihood,” he said.
The chairlady of Nyakio Women Group, Elizabeth Wanjira, also decried the deteriorating security situation: "Hundreds of youths around this area have now turned to gambling and use of miraa and bhang a trend that is worrying as it’s on the rise," she said.