ALL roads lead to Lupane, Matabeleland North today for the National Youth Day celebrations where President Mnangagwa will be the guest of honour.
More than 30 000 youths are expected to attend the event which is being held outside Harare for the first time.
Critically, however, is the anti-drug theme that the event carries especially in light of the scourge of drug abuse in the country.
This year’s celebrations are being held under the theme, “Drug and Substance Abuse: A Threat to Vision 2030, Every Community has a Responsibility” building from last year’s theme: “Alleviate Substance and Drug Abuse by the Youth.”
Ahead of today’s event, President Mnangagwa, in an interview on Sunday in Ethiopia where he had gone for an African Union Summit, said that the Government will soon review the law on dangerous drugs so that stiffer penalties will deter the vice.
The President said parents have an active role to ensure that their children desist from taking drugs and if they could not control their children they should report them to law enforcement agencies to nip the problem in the bud.
“As you may be aware, we have recently moved in on dealing with the question of drugs among the youths. I have instructed the police that anybody found drunk anywhere must be picked up and arrested and tell us where he got the drugs. We are asking all institutions in the country, churches and schools where ever you find people dealing with drugs or young people using drugs they must be arrested and make sure we protect our young people from drugs.
“We also think the parents must take responsibility if they are unable to control their children they must report to the police what is happening because that will save their children. We are going to be harsh in dealing with this issue especially those that bring the drugs into the country,” said President Mnangagwa.
“We may, down the line, look at the sentencing of drug peddlers and increase the sentence.”
In the build-up to today’s event, the police launched an operation code-named: “No To Dangerous Drugs and Illicit Substances: See Something, Say Something” and by the weekend, 2 391 people had been arrested for drug-related crimes.
We are happy that the police operation is yielding results and continue to urge members of the public to work with the police to weed out drug peddlers from communities.