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China boosts Zim’s fight against drug abuse

ZRP Commissioner-General, Godwin Matanga, said Zimbabwe had emerged as a drug trade transit route.

CHINA yesterday donated anti-narcotics laboratory equipment to the Home Affairs ministry worth US$136 988 to fight rising drug and illegal substance abuse.The laboratory equipment includes a Raman spectrometer and drug extraction and sampling kits which detect class one explosives and narcotics specified by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

Speaking at the handover ceremony in Harare, Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe, Zhou Ding, said the donation sought to enhance international co-operation in fighting illegal drug trade.

“The anti-narcotics laboratory is another iconic project of China-Zimbabwe pragmatic co-operation under the Global Security Initiative proposed by President Xi Jinping,” Zhou said.“The project fills the void in the forensic science laboratory of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP). It will further improve ZRP's capacity in drug identification, detection and analysis.

“For instance, the Raman spectroscopy drug inspection terminal equipped in the laboratory can identify narcotics, precursor and hazardous chemicals in just a few seconds without direct contact with the tested substance.”

Zimbabwe is battling drug and illegal substance abuse among the youth, with President Emmerson Mnangagwa calling for stiffer penalties against those who engage in the vice.The Chinese ambassador said the testing kits would help to strengthen Zimbabwe’s capacity to combat drug crimes, and save lives.“This capacity is also a prerequisite for Zimbabwe’s social and economic progress,” Zhou said.  

Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe echoed similar sentiments after receiving the equipment.“It is, therefore, pleasing to note that this analysis equipment will go a long way in strengthening the capacity of law enforcement agencies to identify drugs and improve detection levels,” Kazembe said.

“Such level of investigative sophistication is the much-needed shot in the arm for our police officers as they wage the war on drugs.“I have no doubt about the commitment of our police officers to eliminate the scourge of drugs.

“All they need are the tools of trade such as the ones that we are receiving today coupled with societal cohesion towards the goal to eliminate drug and substance abuse.”Kazembe called on citizens and other stakeholders to play their part in addressing the drug scourge in their respective communities.

“As we may all be aware, drugs are being manufactured and traded in our communities under our very own watch unfortunately, some of us have decided to turn a blind eye, with some even deciding to be part of the problem. In my view, It's high time we put our heads together as a society for the common good of our country,” Kazembe said. ZRP Commissioner-General, Godwin Matanga, said Zimbabwe had emerged as a drug trade transit route.

“Traditional criminal trends had indicated that we were just a transit route for dangerous and harmful substances,” Matanga said.“Allow me therefore, ladies and gentlemen to give a stern warning to drug cartel syndicates that the net is closing in and the ZRP will descend on them with the same impunity and wrath that drugs are ravaging our societies and destroying our youths.” 

According to the Health and Child Care ministry, at least 70% of new inmates at mental health institutions are drug addicts.

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