Bulawayo’s drug havens thrive despite police raids

The Chronicle

Blessing Karubwa, Chronicle Reporter
AROUND Bulawayo’s suburbs, drug havens are thriving, targeting mostly university students and school children.

The illegal drug trade has been blamed for violence at some schools and rampant drug abuse at universities. At the Midlands State University (MSU) in the Midlands Province, some students told a Chronicle news crew investigating drug abuse that they were making huge profits using Bulawayo as their primary source for marijuana, which they subsequently resell to peers at the university. This comes at a time when drug abuse cases in Zimbabwe are on the rise, a development that sawGovernment recently launching a National Drug Policy to fight the scourge.

A student drug dealer at MSU, Nelson Mkandla (name changed to protect him), claimed in an interview that their main drug supply base is in the Bulawayo suburb of Gwabalanda.

He said they order it for as little as US$10 and make a profit at the university by selling and persuading more people to place orders.

“I order this marijuana from a certain house called koSaNe in Gwabalanda in Bulawayo. That home is actually our main base. You can order from as little as US$10. When you are in Bulawayo you just ask any rastaman for a place called koSaNe, it is known by every drug dealer.

“They have all types of drugs that you may think of. Either mbanje, cocaine or whatever. They actually order them from South Africa,” said Mkandla.

File picture: Police details outside one of the suspected drug havens during the 2019 raid

Another student Andrew Nkomo (not real name) claimed that selling mbanje and other related substances is a huge business at MSU where there are plenty of customers who are in serious need of drugs.

“In times like these when semesters have been cut short I make a profit of about US$200 a month through selling marijuana only,” he said.

He also said his “main base” was in Gwabalanda suburb in Bulawayo.
Investigations by Chronicle revealed that there are a number of places that sell drugs in Bulawayo’s high density areas.

The investigations revealed that among the drug dealers are youths, women, and senior citizens.
A Chronicle news crew visited Gwabalanda’s “main base” also known as Eziyaphapha.

Before reaching the house, which is near the intersection of Ntemba and Luveve roads, the news crew came across two youths who were guarding the base.

Midlands State University (MSU)

They had blood shot eyes and appeared to be aged between 22-25 years old.

They are suspicious of people they have not seen before. Why are you going to SaNe’s house when you do not smoke? We don’t know you and we have never seen you here,” said one of the deale.
After a member of the news crew told them that he wanted to buy drugs they said they would be the escorts since he could not be trusted.

“We are going with you there because we are the people whom the drug dealers know. Give us your money,” said one of them who was handed US$1 for marijuana.
Three vehicles were parked at SaNe’s home.

A Toyota Quantum was surrounded by four individuals who appeared to be in their mid-20s, who were keeping an eye on everything.

One of the dealers brought a tiny packet which was filled with marijuana.

Chronicle also went to Bulawayo’s Old Luveve neighbourhood where two men, who are between the ages of 23 and 25, run a barbershop.

“You want Skank? Let me finish this haircut then bring you some,” one of them said.
After being given money, he jumped the fence going to a neighbour’s house.

When he returned, he forced a small packet of marijuana into the journalist’s track pockets.
The news crew also visited another house along Jukwa Street in Old Lobengula.

A woman in her late 40s sells drugs there.
She said she does not keep all her drugs at her home, but a friend nearby does. Advertising her marijuana, she said she had a good grade.

“Because this particular strain of marijuana I have is so potent; I can sell you a cup of it for US$6. I’m now selling the Twist model. Let me take some so that you can see,” she said.

Picture taken from the internet.

“When people like you want to order more; I phone a friend who lives here in the same location as me. Most of my marijuana is kept with her. But since she is married, I prefer you come during the day.”

At a house along 2nd Street in Makokoba suburb, a man in his late 50s also sells drugs.
A woman, who looks in her late 20s was chopping firewood and after a member of the news crew indicated his intention, she said “Igwayi labadala yiUS$1.” She passed her father, entered one of the rooms in the house and came out carrying a folded white paper with marijuana inside.

In 2019, police staged a dramatic raid at a residential flat in Bulawayo’s city’s centre and arrested seven suspects in an operation that saw drugs and cash being recovered.

The flat, situated at the corner of 1st Avenue and Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Street, was targeted after residents living nearby complained that the area was being turned into a haven of crime.

Police units including CID Drugs and the Canine Unit carried out the operation.
As some police officers stormed the flat, other heavily armed cops surrounded the premises creating a spectacle that was also witnessed by a Chronicle news crew. — @KarubwaTicha

Article Source: The Chronicle

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