IN the past three years, about 7 151 people have been arrested in Namibia over drug-related offences.
Of this number 2 313 have been imprisoned between 2018 to 2020.
National police spokesperson deputy commissioner Kauna Shikwambi says in January alone 101 people have been arrested in connection with drugs: 94 Namibians, one Angolan national, two Burundian nationals, one Congolese and three Zambian nationals.
Some 89 kg of dagga worth N$891 020 was confiscated, while 448 kg of mandrax pills worth N$53 760 were seized.
Shikwambi says the police also confiscated 28 units of crack cocaine worth N$2 800.
“The Namibian Police are the custodians of law and order, and will thus never hesitate to enforce any rules and regulations governing the country,” she says.
The use or possession of and dealing in drugs are criminal offences in Namibia, she says.
“It has and continues to be a challenge for the Namibian Police to curb, because it is a secret crime whereby drugs are smuggled into the country. Despite that, the police continue to arrest offenders and confiscate these illegal substances with the assistance of the community and stakeholders.”
Neither Shikwambi, nor inspector general Sebastian Ndeitunga commented on the legalisation of dagga in the country.
Borro Ndungula, the secretary general of the Ganga Users of Namibia (GUN), last month told The Namibian his organisation is advocating amnesty for inmates who have been imprisoned due to dagga-related offences, as well as individuals with pending dagga-related cases.
Ndungula believes the substance poses no social or health threat.
He insisted on the acquittal of offenders preceding any discussion on the legalisation of dagga in parliament.
He said he would continue to try and convince the government to repeal the drug law of 1971.
Ndungula said the current drug laws violate Article 25 of the Namibian Constitution, which states that racial discrimination and the practice of the apartheid ideology are prohibited.
“Most of the laws that were enacted from 1945 to 1985 by the racist South African government through the National Party, especially Bantu laws, were apartheid laws meant to specifically oppress and suppress the black population of South Africa and Namibia,” he said.
He believes dagga can relieve chronic pain, improve lung capacity, counter weight loss, regulate and prevent diabetes, fight cancer, and help treat depression.
He also claims the substance shows promise in the treatment of autism and seizures.
The Namibian in November last year reported that prime minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila’s office is chairing a task-force committee to consult on the regulation of and controlled use of dagga in Namibia. This comes after the Ministry of Health and Social Services called on the public for submissions on the matter.
Last year, minister of justice Yvonne Dausab said the matter is also receiving the attention of the Ministry of Justice.
The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) reported that 33 countries in the world have permitted the cultivation of dagga for medical and research purposes.
Some of these countries are members of the Southern African Development Community.