Crackdown fails to stop Chibolya marijuana trade


YOUTHS from Lusaka’s Chibolya township are still defiant and have vowed to continue trading in marijuana several weeks after a crackdown by combined security forces .
On the night of May 29, a combined team of Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) and state police raided the township, arresting hundreds of suspects and seizing large quantities of illegal drugs.
The midnight raid was swift and well planned, catching many residents of the township unaware.
By daybreak, hundreds of men and women were arrested for possession of illegal drugs, mostly cannabis, or for other illicit activities, including prostitution.
Police declared the area sanitised of drugs.
But a visit by The Post to Gaza Street in Chibolya yesterday revealed that drugs were still being sold openly in the area.
On entering the notorious drug den, police officers had to calm down the ‘traders’ in the area assuring them that they had only accompanied journalists that wanted to talk to them and experience the happenings first hand.
The traders seemed to have no qualms with the arrival of the police officers and The Post crew who were taken around by a local resident Gerald Musalale Alias Seven Spirits.
Musalale then ordered the mob of youths to cooperate and offered himself to take the visitors around for a tour.
Speaking on behalf of the mob high on drugs, Musalale told The Post crew that the trade in marijuana had become part of the lifestyle of the youths in Chibolya.
Musalale said in the absence of jobs, schools and recreational facilities in the compound, the youths would continue trading in these drugs.
He said the Drug Enforcement Commission was not formed to send people to prison but rehabilitate them, pointing out that he had been to a rehabilitation institution before.
“But rehabilitation is not about institutions and arrests, it’s about the mind of an individual,” he said.
He said Chibolya had graduates in various fields, but observed that these could not find employment and had therefore resorted to selling drugs.
“Chibolya deserves to be developed and currently, the compound lacks a hospital, schools and a police station which are vital,” he said.
He said marijuana was still available in the compound and being sold openly despite the crackdown, adding that the trend would continue.
Musalale then took the police and The Post to the various spots where marijuana was on display for sale and some residents were seen smoking openly.
After the visit, The Post and police officers left the traders to continue with their business.
For years, drug lords and thieves have ruled Chibolya with impunity, spreading terror among its residents who live in constant fear, and giving the township its bad name.
After the raid, people thought Chibolya belonged to the police.

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