Billian Matambo
Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Workers Union (ZIDAWU)
A member of Publish What You Pay (PWYP)


It’s so pathetic to realize that drug abuse is spreading like veld fire among youth in mining communities. As a nation, our level of seriousness in tackling this challenge is still questionable. There are missing gaps that need urgent closure in order to spare tomorrow’s generation alive.Communities can’t point fingers and blame poverty as the root cause for drug abuse among today’s youth since both rich and poor are falling victims. The zeal to stay euphoric or sedated has become their day to day resolution. Talking of mining communities, Chiadzwa youths are using a number of these dangerous addictive drugs like broncleer, guka or Crystal meth,cannabis, kachasu , and teku-teku which is imported from our neighbouring country Mozambique and is allegedly passing through highly securitised borders daily. Recent research contacted by CBOs in Marange (ZIDAWU, CCDT and MDT) which was spearheaded by Zimbabwe Environmental Lawyers Association proved that there is a surge in figures of drug abuse especially youth and high school students during Covid lockdown. When asked why they are into drugs some say drugs enhance their performance during mining and cast away all fear. On the other hand school dropout girls admitted that they need to be sedated and stay high for them to enjoy prostitution without any shame. The other reason cited was that using drugs helps them forget their sorrows and helps them enjoy temporary happiness. This is causing many youths falling victims to medical calamity even death. According to a villager Mr Cosmas Sunguro he said: “cases of drug and substance abuse have been increasing here in Chiadzwa since lockdown started. There has been a close link between domestic violence and drug abuse”. Sunguro cited how most men blamed their wives for the uncontrollable, mischievous behaviour of their sons and daughters as a result of drugs and this always leads to domestic violence. He said our culture shoulders women with the responsibility of controlling and safeguarding children.It is high time that action is taken in order to curb the complicated drug webs that are threatening humanity and some instances are fatal that they lead to death. The mining communities are facing this catastrophe which is not only affecting youth artisanal miners but also students from high schools surrounding the mining concession. We have high schools like Gandauta, Mutsago, Mweyamutsvene high, Kurauone etc who are now strongholds in the drug webs. Students now have their own suppliers who sell drugs on school compounds.
A youth by the name of Stewart who is a drug dealer based at Tenda shopping centre in Chiadzwa has this to say ” I prefer selling guka than teku-teku or broncleer because with guka I make more money since I sell two points of guka for US$5 after stocking 1 gram for only US$5 in town from the Rastafarians and to me it’s portable.” He said most of his customers are students because guka is undetected when mixed in cold drinks.Our youth are being destroyed by the loopholes within the legal systems. Corruption is allowing drug trafficking which is now a bomb exploding right in our faces. Inasmuch as we are safeguarding our youth against drug abuse the challenge of uncontrolled drug webs still remains. Our youth are coiled in since the drug lords and all the players within the drug value chain are operating freely without an interference from the police. Seems police have normalized all drug operations. There is a need for a concerted effort if we really want to win this war against drug abuse nationwide.For mining communities, this calls for drug rehabilitation workshops. As the saying goes that an idle mind is the temple of the devil, youth should indulge in activities that will socio-economically empower them. Our police must go back to the drawing board whereby they used to visit schools and educate students on the impacts of drug abuse. Mostly drug trafficking must be stopped and close the long chain of drug dealers and thy consumers.