The P41 million war on drugs

Police searching for drugs in  tuckshop. PIC MORERI SEJAKGOMO
Police searching for drugs in tuckshop. PIC MORERI SEJAKGOMO

As government mounts an all-inclusive assault to declare a war on drugs, P41 million has been set aside for the newly established Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). The entity is set to battle against narcotics and reduce the violence and other criminal activity associated with the drug trade.

The establishment of the DEA last year was government’s clear plan that it wants to fight this menace by attacking it on many fronts. The DEA was established in accordance with Section V of the Illicit Traffic in Narcotics and Pyschotropic Substances Act of 2018. The Agency is mandated to collect, collate and disseminate information on illegal use of narcotic drugs and pyschotropic substances. Moreover, the DEA is authorised to receive, investigate any complaint of alleged or suspected breach of the Act and address and advise government ministries and departments, public bodies, institutions, companies, statutory bodies and corporations on ways and means of preventing prohibited activities relating to narcotic drugs and pyschotropic substances. Delivering the budget speech recently, Finance minister, Peggy Serame revealed that a budget of P41, 460, 160 has been allocated to the newly established unit to combat the alarming rate of drug use. The DEA falls under the Ministry of Defence and Security, which has been allocated the second largest share of the proposed ministerial recurrent budget amounting to P10.65 billion.

The ministry was further allocated a development budget of P2.78 billion. Serame stated that the budget will assist the ministry to provide safety and protection through the implementation of relevant national policies and programmes required to achieve peace and tranquillity in the country. Serame further explained that the allocation will mainly cover operational costs for security agencies such as the Botswana Defence Force (BDF), the Botswana Police Service (BPS) as well as the Botswana Prisons Service. “The budget will also cater costs for the newly established DEA to combat the alarming rate of drug use, creation of 1, 000 positions and associated costs at Botswana police to enhance law enforcement, procurement of branded uniform for Botswana prisons, uniform and protective clothing for prisoners and operations by the Botswana contingent under the Southern African Development Community mission in Mozambique,” she said. Drug abuse remains prevalent in Botswana and the police have over the years fought a losing battle to fight the escalating drug use. When the DEA was established last year, the Defence and Security minister, Kagiso Mmusi, was confident that the DEA brings a new hope that the country can win the battle against drug use. “If the ministry pools resources together, there is no doubt the country could win the battle against the illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. Trafficking in narcotic drugs poses a danger to public security, peace and stability. Drugs ruin the future of children and youth who are our window of hope and are expected to perpetuate our legacy after our departure,” Mmusi revealed last year.

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