Shahbal to Joho: War on drugs not about politics

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By DANIEL TSUMA NYASSY
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By MOHAMED AHMED
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Businessman Suleiman Shahbal told Governor Hassan Joho to stop politicising the war on drugs.

He on Thursday said 6,725 people had died due to the narcotics in Mombasa in the last two years.

Mr Shahbal, the Jubilee candidate for the governor’s seat, said 96,752 people at the Coast were hooked to drugs.

Among them are 40,000 students aged between 12 and 17 years.

He was quoting a report on narcotics by the National Authority for Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse and US anti-narcotics agency.

Some of his family members are among those who had died due to the drugs, he said.

At least 60 well-known drug lords were on the loose in the country.

“Mombasa is gradually turning into another Colombia with militia gangs, armed youths and criminals moving around. Narcotics is driving virtually every sector in Mombasa,” he said at the Jubilee offices in Nyali.

“Escobar was a very popular person in Colombia at first. He built schools, hospitals and seemed to be the defender of the people’s welfare and their champion.

“But what became of him later? He became one of the biggest drug barons in the world. This is what is happening in Mombasa.”

He was referring to Pablo Escobar the head of the notorious Medellin cartel and one of the world’s most wanted fugitives who was killed by Colombian security forces during a shootout in 1993.

The politician said nobody had linked Mr Joho to drug trafficking.

“Why does Governor Joho get so worked up about drugs? Nobody has linked him to the drugs trade. What we have linked him with is fake degrees and everybody knows that he has no degree and cannot get one. Let him go back to school,” he said.

Mr Shahbal said that a senior ODM official was a beneficiary of proceeds from the sale of drugs.

He declined to name the official, only saying “it is obvious”.

If elected governor, Mr Shahbal would push the national government to introduce tough laws such as those in Malaysia and US where anybody involved in the illegal trade was hanged and all proceeds accrued from the trade confiscated by the State, he said.

“I will push to make the drug trade a capital offence with zero returns. In the county, we will sensitise grassroots citizens and empower them to arrest any user and hand them over to the police, ” he said.

Governor Joho on Monday accused the Jubilee Government of plotting to end his political career by linking him to drug trafficking.

“If Uhuru and Ruto have evidence I am involved in the trade or anybody else for that matter, why don’t they arrest them?” Mr Joho said.

Separately, Mombasa Senator Hassan Omar accused the governor of criticising the Jubilee government for its poor development record yet he had achieved nothing for the people who elected him.

“If you are fighting someone you must ensure that you are accountable. Are you responsible? If (Mr) Uhuru is giving his people tenders then you should not give your relatives tenders,” Mr Omar said.

Mr Omar accused Mr Joho’s government of boasting that it was an efficient revenue collector, saying that was no reason to be proud.

“If you hear a country is taking a lot of revenue from its people then that is a country governed by exploitation.

“There is no pride in Mombasa County being the most expensive in terms of doing business,” he said in Kizingo.

He said this when he flagged off a caravan to mobilise voters to register.

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