Drug abuse: Inmates regret dealing
Fungai Lupande-Mash Central Bureau
A jailed truck driver, who took advantage of his job to smuggle dangerous drugs such as cocaine and crystal meth (mutoriro) into Zimbabwe, is now regretting his decision, both because of his jail term and because he has seen drug addicts in jail and the damage the drugs have done.
Friday Chimuti (not his real name), has likened smuggling to committing treason.
He said the reality of his actions struck him when he met people affected by drugs in prison.
But at the height of his enterprise, Chimuti smuggled thousands of boxes of Broncleer cough syrup, cocaine, mutoriro, and others, making a lot of money but damaging a lot of people. Giving his testimony at the provincial celebration of National Youth Day, Friday said: “When I saw the effects of the drugs that I contributed to being smuggled into the country on people some as young as 17 years I started to think. Their lives have been destroyed; some have become street kids while others dropped out of school,” he said.
“I was shocked and I have regrets. Had I not smuggled drugs into the country many people I met in jail had a chance at a better life. Partaking in drugs destroys the future of our country.
“I am one of those who started smuggling crystal myth to places like Beitbridge and it was referred to as ‘zagula’. I would smuggle about 500g of cocaine per trip which is a lot.”
Friday said he used to make over US$10 000 per trip at the expense of the lives of youth and economic development.
All he wants is to teach drug smugglers about the effect and dangers of drugs on lives and national development.
Another prisoner giving testimony was 26-year-old Chipo Murefu (not her real name) said she is in a paternity dilemma with her two children after becoming pregnant while under the influence of drugs.
She was incarcerated for stealing a chicken from her friend’s mother while she was looking for a knife to slaughter the chicken.
“I started doing drugs when I was 20 years old and for two of my three children I don’t know their father. I conceived both children aged 4 and 3 while intoxicated. I don’t know who I slept with,” she said.
“I would spend most of my time at ‘goshto’ intoxicated after my relatives chased me away for stealing cash and property to exchange for drugs. My children ask me about their father and I have no answer. I feel very sorry for them. I would go to church and wait for people to close their eyes in prayer before stealing mobile phones. I was arrested for stealing a chicken. Had I been normal, I would not steal a chicken.”
Chipo said she is now sober after going through rehabilitation at the prison.
She is appealing for assistance to start projects to fend for her children.
Prisoner and promising basketball player, Ryan Svondo (not his real name) said he messed up his future and talent after he started sniffing cocaine.
“I was good at basketball and my life was perfect. I joined a bad company and started smoking marijuana and sniffing cocaine. My life was torn apart and being incarcerated was a second chance for me,” he said.
“I lost my wife and everything I had vanished. I become a drug addict and I would steal from my parents and break into shops. My parents disowned me and I struggled in the underworld by myself.
“I urge youths to focus on education and use their talent, leave drugs alone. I want to start afresh when I get out of prison.”
A 17-year-old boy who is in jail said he almost raped his sister while under the influence of drugs.
He abused guka, mutoriro, and marijuana.
“These drugs gave me the strength and courage to break into homes, stealing televisions, gadgets, and cash. At home I sold most of our household property to get money to buy more drugs,” he said.
“I urged the police to arrest everyone selling and using dangerous drugs and substances.”