A generation lost due to drug and substance, let’s pray for our children — Minister

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By Anna Chibamu

MINISTER of State for Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Marian Chombo has urged citizens to stop abusing drugs and substances as the country risks losing a whole generation to the scourge.

She was speaking during a handover of donated blankets, sheets and groceries to the elderly and  to Norton Hospital, last Friday.

The donation by the only Zanu PF elected councillor Tinashe Machemedze of Norton Ward 7, included 400 blankets he sourced from various benefactors; assorted groceries from MWOS Football Club and the clergy who donated sheets.

Norton Hospital received 100 blankets while the elderly folk in the ward received 300 blankets.

‘’Let me take this opportunity to warn the youths not to be involved in drug and substance abuse. Our President is on record saying “Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo. Zimbabwe haivakwe nemunhu aka sticker.”

‘’When I arrived in this town early in the morning, I visited the Fight Against Substances and Addictions (FASSA) Rehabilitation Centre, run by Dr Abigail Magwenzi. I think everyone must visit that centre. Katanga is the epi-centre of drug and substance abuse in Norton. The situation is heart-rending. It is sad,’’ Chombo said.

“I once ordered my office crew to go and arrest the drug lord in Norton town. If you go to FASSA Rehab Centre, you will realise that we have lost a generation. Everyone here has a relative who has been affected by the scourge. Drug and substance abuse cuts across every sector. The rich or poor, men and women, black or white, it is a menace.

“We need to pray for this problem. If you go to the mentioned centre, the affected have needs. We need to learn to be generous. There are doctors at this centre, engineers, and many other graduates in all disciplines that l have met today. I shed a tear, seeing that this is my child. Asking about the state in which they are, no one could explain anything. As a mother, it is so disturbing to think of where this country is heading to when young people are in this state, worse still, the educated ones who are supposed to lead us tomorrow.

“You wonder who will be the next MP or minister tomorrow. Let us pray about it and do our part. A Bible story tells us that ‘A woman cried to have a decade long cursed generation freed.’ Women, we have a job to do. Let us pray for our children over this.’’

The minister said statistics from the government indicate crime rate, gender -based violence (GBV) due to the abuse of drugs and other substances had increased.

‘’Where l was, they need help to feed them. Some cannot even afford to pay for services being offered but they are there. We need to play our part to rebuild the broken nation so that when we die, we leave the baton-stick to somebody.

“We have no one. There is a generation that is going to be lost. Most young people are missing school, graduation and the like, due to drug and substance abuse. The place is not far, take a walk and see what it is like to be affected. Your life will change forever,’’ Chombo said.

Councillor Machemedze expressed appreciation to donors for extending generosity that will go a long way to alleviate the shortage of blankets at the hospital.

“We no longer want people to be asked to bring blankets to the hospital when they fall sick. We have several projects in Ward 7.

“We recently launched a burial society in this Ward. Normally, we lose three people in the ward per month. I was overwhelmed by the burial costs and the burial society will go a long way in alleviating the challenge of financial costs to give a decent burial to our own.”

Minister Chombo commended councilors in Norton urging them to work harder and put the town on the map.

“Councillors, you have to be accountable. Norton, you have everything from an eye-clinic known countrywide to a state-of-the-art rehabilitation centre FASSA which will help many people affected by the drug and substance abuse scourge. You are close to the capital city, Harare as well. You can be a wonderful town one day.

“We want the council to be the best. Development in communities is the work of traditional leaders and councillors. It is not the work of legislators. I commend Councillor Machemedze for the good work you are carrying in this ward,’’ said the minister.