BY PETER KOMBE
The lack of local administrator at Kadzandani Ward in Nyali Constituency has been cited as the major factor leading to the upsurge of drug menace in the subcounty.
James Etyang, the area assistant county commissioner (ACC), said that the ward is currently depending on external administrators drawn from Kisauni Constituency making it difficult for them to provide satisfactory services there.
Children between 12 and 16 years, according to him, were indulging in drug abuse, illicit brews and join criminal gangs.
Because of this, Mr Etyang called on the civil society organisations (CSOs) work together with the county and national governments in order to fight the vice that was taking roots at family levels.
He was speaking at the Violent Extremism Forum organised by Dream Achievers Youth Organisation (DAYO) in a Mombasa hotel recently where he said there was need to invest in education as a way of saving the young generation substance abuse.
In his view, illiteracy is one of the factors that are the cause of drug abuse, illicit brews and criminal activities not only in the ward but also in the county at large.
“We need to empower our youth with basic lifeskills through formal or informal education so that they can face their worlds as informed and well-bred citizens of this country,” he said.
According to the ACC drug addicts, popularly referred as wateja, have their constitutional human rights and deserved equal opportunities like the rest of Kenyans.
Kadzandani MCA Francis Nzai said he will soon table a motion at the County Assembly to increase the Youth Funds allocation so that many can not only access funds but also benefit as a way of combating drug menace.
“The issue of drugs and other vices such as teenage pregnancy is real and we must do something about it while violent extremism requires our concerted efforts to deal with,” he added.
The MCA acknowledged that his area of jurisdiction was infected with all sorts of vices that should be given the attention by local administration and security agencies.
He cited single parenthood, abject poverty and unemployment as some of the reasons leading the young people to join either criminal gangs or radical groups.
Mr Gaetano Ndalo, DAYO sexual and youth reproductive rights officer, asked the youth to open up and speak against all forms of evils including the issues of violent extremism and radicalization.
“This program will ensure that youth work together and accept each other. In my view violent extremism is not only a challenge in the County alone but throughout the country,” he said.
He appealed to lobbyists to develop more youth programs aimed at empowering them to avoid getting into radicalism. The single day youth forum dubbed Shrinking the Space against Violent Extremism brought together representatives from different civil societies.