Mataara village residents in Gatundu North, Kiambu County have decried augmented uptake of outlawed substances such as bhang, chang’aa among other life-threatening inhalants.
They regretted that the illegal substances have not only seen tens of formerly productive youths in the area turn to zombies but have also hampered economic development of the far-flung village with drastic reduction of manpower.
According to them, bhang is especially transported to fishy smoking dens within the lowly town using motorbikes.
Many youngsters, locals said, have been smoking the illegal substance openly, a situation that has accelerated family break-ups, domestic feuds and low reproduction activities.
Led by women, the locals lamented that young men in the village have not been marrying, forcing pretty girls to travel distances in search of husbands to marry them.
“Mataara used to be a very productive village producing the highest tonnes of tea in the country alongside other crops such as avocados and commercial fruits. Youths who used to work in farms are no longer there as most went to urban centres and the remaining ones have turned to abuse of drugs thereby rendering them unproductive,” Salome Nyambura, a concerned woman from the village said.
At some point, locals blamed the growing menace to non-deployment of police officers to enforce laws in the area despite the local leadership having established a police post.
“We used to have officers but they left Mataara years ago. We now have an empty police post that has been up for two years now without officers in it. This, poor parenting alongside other factors is the sole cause of the crisis we have,” Judy Wanjiku, another resident said.
Local authorities led by area chief Ng’ang’a Kio said they have been trying to weed out the menace he said has cut short so many destinies of bright students who joined the lawlessness club after completing their basic education.
Kio who was recently deployed as the area chief said since he assumed office, at least seven drug peddlers have been arrested and taken to court but the crisis requires more concerted efforts as its roots are firmly within the village.
“We are doing everything we can to restore the glory of Mataara village that used to shine in education, agricultural activities among other areas of life. We have employed different approaches such as sensitization campaigns, arrest of criminals among others to help us contain the situation,” the chief said.
At the same time, Kio called on locals to volunteer information to local authorities to help arrest the crisis he said is on the verge of killing generations if prompt interventions are not made.
Kio spoke after after a middle-aged man was arrested in the area distributing 90 rolls of bhang that was due for distribution to users.