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China hands over anti-narcotics laboratory equipment to Zimbabwean police

Xinhua | Updated: 2024-01-19 09:39
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HARARE -- China on Thursday handed over anti-narcotics laboratory equipment to the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) to support its fight against drug and substance abuse.

The equipment was officially handed over by Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Zhou Ding, to Zimbabwe's Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, Kazembe Kazembe, at a ceremony attended by Police Commissioner-General, Godwin Matanga, and officials from the Chinese Embassy, government and police at ZRP Criminal Investigations Department (CID) headquarters in Harare.

"Today's handover ceremony is yet another milestone support in our quest to mitigate the effects of drug and substance abuse which have reached unprecedented levels, especially among the youths," Kazembe said in his keynote address at the ceremony.

He said the equipment will make a huge difference in fighting drug and substance abuse in the country, thereby helping the country rebuild the social fabric that is under threat from drug and substance use.

Kazembe said drug and substance abuse among youths breeds a non-productive community which negatively impacts Zimbabwe's development aspirations.

"It burdens the economy as funds that could be used for other developmental purposes are channeled towards treatment and rehabilitation of those affected. It is therefore pleasing to note that this analysis equipment will go a long way in strengthening the capacity of law enforcement agencies to identify drugs and improve detection levels," said Kazembe.

The instruments handed over include Raman spectrometer and drug extraction and sampling kits. Among the items are also equipment that can detect explosives and hazardous substances.

"Such level of investigative sophistication is the much-needed shot in the arm for our police officers as they wage the war on drugs," Kazembe said, adding that modern policing is now hinged on the use of technology-driven practices.

Speaking at the same event, Zhou said China firmly supports Zimbabwe's national anti-drug and substance abuse campaign.

"China has joined hands with many countries, including Zimbabwe, to enhance international anti-drug cooperation and address our common challenges posed by drug abuse," he noted.

The anti-narcotics laboratory is another iconic project of China-Zimbabwe pragmatic cooperation. "The project fills the void in the forensic science laboratory of the Zimbabwe Republic Police. It will further improve ZRP's capacity in drug identification, detection and analysis. I believe that such powerful detection tools will help strengthen Zimbabwe's capacity to combat drug crimes, and save lives," said Zhou.

Matanga noted that Zimbabwe, like many nations across the world, is battling with the scourge of drug and substance abuse.

He noted that the government's efforts to grow the economy and create more opportunities and better livelihoods for the youths would be in vain if the persisting drug menace is not contained.

"It therefore behooves us to enhance our capacity in detecting drug cargo at our ports of entry and exit as well as redoubling our efforts to bust local drug syndicates and distribution networks," said Matanga.

In addition, he said the equipment will go a long way in leveraging ZRP's capacity to gather forensic evidence for the prosecution of drug-related crimes.

Zimbabwe has faced the growing challenge of drug and substance abuse by the youths in recent years, prompting the government to step up efforts to combat the scourge.

The police in early 2023 launched an anti-drugs and substance abuse operation which has resulted in thousands of suspects being arrested.

Some of the drugs being sold on the streets include Crystal Methamphetamine, cough syrups and marijuana.

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