alexa Mombasa students fall victim to drug abuse - Daily Nation

Mombasa students fall victim to drug abuse

Monday February 25 2019

bhang

Bhang. Bhang has detrimental effects on a user. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

WINNIE ATIENO
By WINNIE ATIENO
More by this Author

Minutes after clearing his Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examination last year, a student at one of Mombasa’s leading private schools was caught with bhang.

The school administrator summoned the student’s mother to settle the disciplinary case, and in the end the two parties agreed that the student would write an apology letter.

In the letter, the student, whose identity the Nation is concealing for legal and ethical reasons, revealed that another student had asked him to bring the narcotic to school.

“He asked me about a week ago to bring him some bhang from home because he wanted to use it after the examination ended. I was to deliver it and he would pay me later,” reads the letter, obtained by the Nation.

VICTIMS

The student said he had bought the roll of bhang in Bamburi, and even identified the seller.

Advertisement

A few hours later, the student committed suicide within the school compound by hanging himself with his vest.

Statistics from the National Authority for the Campaign Against Drug Abuse (Nacada) indicate that 24,500 people are addicted to drugs in Mombasa alone. Most of them are minors.

Earlier this year, a Standard Seven pupil was caught with bhang within a public primary school in Kisauni.

A teacher told the Nation that this has become quite normal here. “Children come to school with bhang yet their parents keep defending them,” the teacher said.

Drug peddlers disguise themselves as hawkers selling water, snacks and food outside school compounds.

PARENTING

In other situations, however, the risk is quite obvious. For instance, a nightclub now borders St Teresa's Girls Secondary School, said a teacher, Mr Juma Otieno, adding that education and county officials are aware of this but have not taken any action.

Ms Farida Rashid, a member of the Nacada board, says she is “surprised” that somebody licensed bars to operate near schools.

The board has reported that children as young as nine have access to drugs at home or in school in Mombasa.

Mr David Mulei, the Kenya National Union of Teachers coast region treasurer, says the county government must remove hawkers and small businesses from school neighbourhoods and revoke the licences of bars next to learning institutions.

BARS

Asked about the crisis, the Mombasa County Commissioner Evans Achoki said his team will assess the situation.

“We will visit St Teresa's Girls Secondary School and take action on all kiosks surrounding schools,” he said.

Three weeks ago, Coast Regional Coordinator John Elungata warned owners of bars set up next to schools, but no one heeded.

“The law says no bar should operate within 300 metres from a school. We will close them down,” Mr Elungata said. Three weeks later, the bars are still in business.