Officer-In-Charge DMPU Northern Division, Superintendent Ookeditse Moseki, says they have recorded a sharp decline in reported cases of drug trafficking and usage in and around the city of Francistown since the first lockdown in April 2020.
Although he could not provide statistics to back up his claim, Moseki attributed the decline to movement restrictions imposed by the Covid 19 task team and closing of borders last year. Moseki said there is evidence suggesting that drugs circulating locally originate from foreign countries like South Africa and Mozambique, transported along the A1 road from Gaborone to Francistown. He said they have observed that a lot has changed in the trafficking of drugs due to restriction of movement, which reveals that drug traffickers are highly mobile and conduct their business on the road.
Moseki also noted that most of the drug trafficking in Francistown was recorded around the town center in Minestone area where a lot of carwashes, barber shops and cash loans which were mostly run by school drop outs and unemployed graduates were operating as a front for drug trafficking. He further added that areas such as Somerset, Monarch and Block 1 trailed behind closely behind Minestone in drug peddling.
According to Moseki students from the ages of 14 years across almost all schools in the city including primary schools trafficked and used drugs especially marijuana and cocaine, with Francistown Senior Secondary School (FSS) leading in drug trafficking amongst students. He also said they have observed a new method used by the youth who cannot afford expensive drugs termed ‘bluetoothing’, a method where one individual physically taking drugs and then using a syringe to extract their intoxicated blood and injecting it into the next person.
For his part, Kumbulani Hubona a qualified counselor and volunteer with Botswana Network for Mental Health (BOMEH) confirmed that their organisation was aware of drug trafficking and use within schools in Francistown. He said some schools in the city that had contacted their organisation for intervention include Selepa, Mmei and Donga Junior Community schools as well as FSS.
Area councilor for Itekeng ward Lesego Kwambala indicated that he was not aware of the situation of drug trafficking and use in schools within the city. He however emphasized that it is crucial for leadership with the support of the community to work with the police to alleviate the matter. “There is an urgent need to address this societal ill in schools. It should also be the responsibility of everyone to ensure that our schools are safe spaces for our children. We want an end to this, and the first thing we need to do is assist in establishing and exposing the dynamics,” he added.