• He said cannabis remains a controlled substance with very clear penalties for any person who may be misled to violate the law.
• Leaders mobilizing the youth through misinformation and false promises such as legalization of cannabis for commercial and recreational purposes if they are elected to office
There is an upsurge on drug abuse attributed to campaign money being given to the youth by people seeking political seats in the electioneering period.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i said they have also observed leaders mobilising the youth through misinformation and false promises such as legalisation of cannabis for commercial and recreational purposes if they are elected to office.
The leaders he said, have even cited countries that have legalised cannabis for recreational purposes without providing factual information on controls that have been put in place where such legalisation has been allowed.
He said cannabis remains a controlled substance with very clear penalties for any person who may be misled to violate the law.
“Legalisation of any drug that is under international or national control can only be done by review of the existing law with the support of Kenyans through their public participation as clearly stipulated in the Constitution,”
“Those who are mobilising the youth through misinformation and false promises should know that only Kenyans have the power to amend the law through Parliament and with their consent. I urge our youth to be Ambassadors of peaceful elections and to avoid being used by politicians as agents of violence and disruption of the campaign activities,” he said.
Presidential candidate George Wajakoyah has pledged to legalise cannabis use if he is elected president in the August polls.
Matiang'i spoke during the commemoration of International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking (IDADA) whose team was– ‘Addressing drug challenges in health and humanitarian crises’ as it emphasised the need to respond to the plight of persons with Substance Use Disorders in difficult and unpleasant settings.
Nacada chairperson Mabel Imbuga said the Covid-19 pandemic has proved to us that health and humanitarian crises can worsen the alcohol and drug abuse situation as it can accelerate the plight of those affected making it difficult for them to access care and support services.
“In addition, such crises are noted to increase the people’s vulnerability to initiation to drugs and resultant addiction,” she said.
During the Covid-19 pandemic and related movement restrictions, she added, the agency observed increased incidences of drug abuse particularly in homes, in the presence of children.
“We also noted an upsurge in online sale of substances which further exposes young people to the risk of drug use as there is ease of access. These and many more worsened the drug situation in the country and we are yet to recover from these effects.”
She said the agency has instituted a multi-sectoral approach that ensures the participation of all key stakeholders.
These are partners drawn from the public sector, faith based organisations and other civil society organisations.
The approach is in realisation that the challenge of alcohol and drugs cannot be handled by one single Agency owing to its multi-faceted features and complexities that cut across all sectors.
She said the Miritini Drug Rehabilitation Centre has over 350 clients receiving various services such as treatment for numerous ailments, counselling, rehabilitation and skills development.
The center arose from a Presidential Directive issued in 2015 that the NYS sub-station be transformed into a Rehabilitation center.