According to Radio Phoenix FM main news monitored in Lusaka the other day; the police swung into action and arrested and charged 52 notorious and dangerous junkies from different townships for idle and disorderly behaviour.
Police Spokesperson Rae Hamoonga disclosed that the 52 junkies were apprehended in selected areas of Kamanga, Obama, Big Jose, Chris Mall, Ndeke Meanwood, Kampasa village, Kaunda Square stages 1 and 2 as well as other crime infested areas.
Hamoonga has since appealed to members of the public that could have been attacked by junkies in these areas to report to Chelstone Police Station and help in identifying them so that other appropriate charges can be slapped on them. What do we make of this?
Not so long ago, a similar operation was unleashed in Kitwe that saw street kids and suspected junkies rounded-up, dramatically! While street kids were taken to safe homes, the junkies were charged for idle and disorderly conduct and whisked away to the penitentiary.
After being detained for a while, these junkies have been let off the hook and are now prowling the streets……and probably resumed their nefarious activities!
How long shall the junkies be arrested and detained, released and be re-arrested? Are we doing them any good making them easily walk in and out of prison as though they are taking a stroll in the park on a quiet Sunday afternoon as they enjoy ice cream. Can somebody please stop the drama and perhaps apply a better solution…..
Rounding-up and hauling the street kids and junkies to detention facilities isn’t obviously the best panacea to the challenge that this combined problem poses to society. Continuing to do so is actually akin to applying Vaseline to a festering wound!
It’s important to appreciate that most of those that qualify to pass as junkies were once street kids themselves eking a living on the streets. Once they graduated from being urchins, they obviously retreated to the townships where they’ve since regrouped and organised themselves into violent gangs that are now causing terror and mayhem in our communities.
What can be done to address this problem?
This definitely calls for thinking outside the box. As opposed to dumping them into a dungeon where no one doesn’t even bother openning their eyes and attempting to walk them through a journey of helping them rediscover themselves, what the street kids and these junkies need are opportunities. Opportunities to acquire vocational skills; Opportunities to gain employment without having anyone unnecessarily stereotyping them; Opportunities to join co-operatives and access capital to start their own projects!
After the botched privatization exercise implemented by the MMD regime that saw a good number of our people wound up on the streets; President Chiluba established a Vendors Desk at State House to personally see to it that citizens who were setting up enterprises on the streets as an alternative to their predicament received his utmost attention without any encumbrances.
Can somebody perhaps whisper to the president to consider appointing a Commission on Street Kids or perhaps a Directorate under the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services which would be instrumental in mobilizing the street kids and junkies into co-operatives so that they are better assisted not only to secure funding, but also encouraged to work the land to produce food to feed the nation and for export to the neighbouring countries; delve into the bowels of the Earth to extract gold, sugilite and diamonds etc or perhaps take to the Forest to harvest rosewood to manufacture desks for our schools.
Until next time, I rest my case.
Prince Bill M Kaping’a