CAN THE GOVERNMENT INVESTIGATE CLAIMS THAT ROGUE POLICE OFFICERS ARE INVOLVED IN DRUG TRAFFICKING IN NYANZA?
Investigative Report By Leo Odera Omolo
The easiest way of stamping out bhang trafficking from Nyanza to Nairobi and to other Kenya towns and other illicit cross border trades is to equip the Kenya police with speed boats similar to those deployed in Lake Victoria by the Uganda marine Police.
There is also need to overhaul top policemen working in the sensitive border regions and counties like Migori, Nyatike and Suba regions.
There is rampant rumors, allegations and claims of police complicity in the lucrative bhang trafficking in the region trades. In some yet to be proved incidences racketeers involved in the illicit trades are said to be enjoying protection by some rogue and un-patriotic policemen stationed in the smuggling spots in Migori and Nyatike county.
The recent events and happening shows the illicit drugs coming into the country via porous Kenyan borders with the neighboring countries via Lake Victoria waters.
Large consignments of bhang get into Kenyan mainland side of Lake Victoria through the disputed Migingo Island. Other smaller fishing islands located on Kenya side of Lake Victoria also being used by the drug traffickers as conduit for smuggling and easy access to the mainland regions and eventually to the markets
Such spots include Migingo, Ugingo, Ringiti, Lolwe, Ngodhe and Oyamo islands.
Bhang is also grown in abundance in Sigulu island which is about 10 kilometers off Budalangi shoreline in Busia county. However, smaller quantity of bhang is also said making its way from Tanzania into Kenya on the main Migori highway that is linking the town to Sirare border post. But the ever presence of policemen on checkpoints and road blocks on the road has curtailed the trafficking forcing the smugglers to use ‘panya’ routes using bicycles and boda boda motorbikes.
Reports emerging from Musoma and Tarime towns say bhang is grown in large quantities in some parts of the world famous Serengeti National Gane Parkand in the neighbouring Ukerewe island In Tanzania
Other landing spots of bhang smuggled from Tanzania include Sori and Muhuru Bay towns in Nyatike sub-county within the larger Migori County
A truck loaded with bhang was recently spotted as it loads the illicit drug behind a store in Sori whose street value was estimated to be around Ksh. 50,000.
The incident took place within only three days after police discovered 7 acres of bhang farm on top of Kimaye Hills near with Ong’er in North Kadem ,which is located less than 10 kilometers from Sori town
Close to 60 policemen spent the whole day uprooting the bhang. They were then enforced by over 50 inmates from Migori G.K. prison .The police succeeded in apprehending six men who were tending the bhang farm and took them into custody .The men were reported to have been working for an influential and wealthy politician in the region who is said to be working as a bhang trafficker .
All these is said to be happening despite the fact that in most parts of Nytatike the police road check-points and road-blocks are there the whole day, and traffic police officers manning these check-points re mains in some places even soon after dark
What give credence to the claim of police complicity in the massive bhang trafficking in the region is that most vehicles nabbed by police in roadblocks are always found far away from Nyanza, mostly in Molo,Naivasha ,Nakuru and Narok area .Perhaps this is after such vehicles had travelled long distance from Nyanza while under the alleged police escort ,which saw them passing through Migori,Kisii,Nyamira and Bomet.
Police road blocks are everywhere in Migori ,Kisii ,Nyamira ,Kericho and Bomet but the bhang traffickers have always been nabbed in places far away from the region.Many of these are sure to conceal the drugs source of origins and supplies
Gwasi Hills ,Ungoe and Gembe Hills in Gwasi and Mbila constituencies are other areas where bhang is grown in abundance.
Before the coming of Independence in 1963, the colonial authorities knew these places and used to dispatch contingents of regular police GSU and APS.during dry seasons with ….to hunt down and burnt down the bhang as well as the makeshift house erected on hill tops by the farmers and those tending the farms. It worked well, but after the attainment of political independence, the successive KANU regime went into deep slumber and relaxed paving the way for more bhang farms to spring up.
The 7 acres bhang farm which the police discovered last month …..was estimated at KSh. 50 million in street value. The bhang was burnt and destroyed at Macalder Divisional Police headquarters.
Residents have however confided to this writer that there existed other bhang farms along the valley of River Kuja in areas not far away from Gogo falls, which is generating electricity for the KPLC and close to the famous pre-historical Thim Lich Ohinga which is now in the management of the Kenya Museum services.