Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Dealing drugs is allowed in Bongo

You should hear the way government honchos and the police bay about the evils of hard drugs. They are evil, they say. They destroy lives, especially of our kids, they lament.
When he was campaigning to be the numero uno pessonovante in the Tanzania politics, the Prez, Jack Mrisho, told Tanzanians that he knew drug dealers - by their names. That he was about to unleash the might of the state against big time drug dealers. We, the wananchi are still patiently waiting for that move.

One thing you learn when you are a Tanzanian is to wait. As some Persian sage once said – it is only the first 100 years which are difficult while you wait.

But I believe that Tanzania is fighting drug trafficking with all its might. Six months ago cops nabbed a beat-nik in Kinondoni area. He was peddling cocaine. He was arrested with the evidence and also was found with serious wads of cash at his home.

When taken to court, the punk arrogantly pleaded guilty and was given a very stiff penalty of paying a 5 million shilling fine or six months in jail. He promptly paid the fine and went back to the criminal business of peddling drugs.

A fortnight ago another drug ‘mule’ was caught in the act of bringing in cocaine. Mules are those young men and women who use their bodies as ‘containers’ to transport hard drugs. The desperadoes usually store the drugs in their rectums.

After discharging cocaine pellets from his rear, he also arrogantly pleaded guilty. The punk was also given a hard sentence of 10 million fine or six months in prison. He promptly paid the fine and is now back in business in the streets.

Morogoro police are currently bragging that they arrested three guys who were bringing in ganja to Dar – some 200 sacks. The police never said the street value of the ganja. But I wouldn’t worry too much if I was one of the crooks. If convicted cocaine dealers are given a six months sentence with the option to pay a joke of fine, then ganja smugglers will be set free. The usual scenario is the cops usually relieve the crooks off the loot and sell it themselves.

From those sentences it is clear that the government is giving our young men and women a nod and a wink to go ahead to be drug ‘entrepreneurs’. Hundreds of hopeless desperadoes in Tanzania will gladly join in to be drug mules. You can openly see that in the streets Dar and Zenj, Stone Town.

In neighboring Kenya when the police catch you with a joint of ganja, you are fined double the value of the msokoto – plust 10 years in jail.
In Saudi Arabia if you are caught peddling drugs you may easily loose your head. It will be chopped off your neck with a razor sharp jambiyeh and may the Lord have mercy on your poor soul.

In the Far East and other places like Thailand you simply face the firing squad when you are caught messing around with drugs. I remember a lady in Dar who was suddenly prosperous and ostensibly doing very fine materially. The Yemen customs police saw drugs in her body containers. The authorities opened up her tummy, removed the evidence and left her to die, which she did.

But in Tanzania, do drugs and they give you an obscenely low fine which you pay and promptly go back to your ‘business.’ Preventive punishment is not in our culture. In fact big time thuggery is very rewarding in Bongo.

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