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Govt intensifies fight against drugs and substances abuse

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Story by Abigirl Tembo, Health Editor

MORE than 6 000 individuals have been arrested and prosecuted since the government launched the fight against drug and substance abuse last year, with more measures being put in place to decimate the scourge.

In a post-cabinet media briefing in Harare this Tuesday, Acting Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Dr Jenfan Muswere, highlighted the progress that has been made in the fight against drug and substance abuse.

“As the nation may recall, Cabinet established the National Committee on Drug and Substance Abuse on 19 April 2023 in order to up-scale the fight against the supply of illicit drug and substance abuse. The nation is being informed that progress recorded to date includes the following: Drugs and substances worth Z$438 654 692 were intercepted under Operation Clean-Up Zimbabwe with 6 156 accused persons being arrested and prosecuted across the country; a lot of people were reached with anti-drug information dissemination and campaigns in hotspot areas through Provincial and District structures. An outpatient rehabilitation and psycho-social support centre has since been established in Harare and similar centres will be set up in other provinces. As a way forward, a National Plan of Action has since been adopted,” he said.

The Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Dr Anxious Masuka revealed that the country is food self-sufficient.

“Cabinet wishes to inform the nation that grain stocks held by the Grain Marketing Board as of 28 May 2023 stood at 200 658 metric tonnes of maize, 36 863 metric tonnes of traditional grains, and 147 748 metric tonnes of wheat. Millers are being allocated 27 000 metric tonnes of maize, while SILO Food Industry is being allocated an additional 16 000 metric tonnes. At this rate, the grain will last for the next 5.5 months. The wheat stocks in the country provide 8.4 months’ cover, and at an allocation rate of 21 000 metric tonnes per month, they are enough to last until the next intake in August/September 2023. The grain intake (maize, soya bean and sunflower) by the GMB for this season now stands at 10 362.”

Cabinet has also approved the National Migration Policy which seeks to address migration concerns and integrate migration in development.

“The nation is advised that the National Migration Policy seeks to address migration concerns, and to integrate migration in development. The Policy will therefore provide a basis for effectively harnessing migration for the development of the country. Zimbabwe faces multi-faceted migration challenges that include skills flight; trafficking in persons; migrant smuggling; mixed migration flows; and irregular labour migration. The attendant challenges, including the relationship between migration and climate change, increases the incidence of epidemics and emergent security threats. This calls for a well-managed migration to ensure the country’s security and optimal protection of our sovereignty,’ added Dr Muswere.

Other pertinent issues discussed in this Tuesday’s cabinet include the Principles of the Teaching Professional Council Bill which seeks to improve the profession and enhance the public standing of teachers as well as the 2023 Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Urban Livelihoods Report.