Feature Article of Monday, 16 January 2012

Columnist: Dakurah, Collins

War On Drugs Or Developing A Domestic Narco Market?

I am a little hurried and down spirited after receiving the news my little cousin Anita just passed away, and may not give this note my best shot in terms of grammar, nonetheless, I hope I command your interest to the last line. Ghana and many third world countries are engaged in a battle against narcotic drugs. I have concerns about whether this campaign is informed by our own intent to fight drugs or designed to make us look good to the USA the main recipient of narcotic drugs. The USA spends so much of its time and money helping several transit nations fight drug cartels within their borders. It has the DEA and several technologies dedicated to fighting drugs outside the borders of the USA with the ultimate aim of ensuring the drugs don’t get into their borders. This may sound okay to you but their is a catch, if the USA has the technology to detect drug shipments at their ports of entry why then spend so much trying to stop the drug shipments from transit nations which have very poor territorial integrity?

I have a few suspicions why the USA would be so interested. Maybe arresting a drug baron in the USA would mean incarcerating the person in their jurisdiction and thus expanding federal maintenance costs for prisoners, or may require investing in new prisons, this is the reason why the DEA would not arrest a person transporting drugs to the USA but would wait for the person to return to his/her home country before alerting the local police of the persons activities, maybe with the expectation that the local police would arrest the person and prosecute the person within their jurisdiction and of course bear the cost of maintaining the prisoner. Again maybe the USA realizes that they don't really have what it takes to face these drug cartels because they always find their way around.

But you see there is a more ominous twist to the current arrangement. When you try to suppress the narcotic drug trade the cartels move to buy and manipulate your security services and very often top government officials. They take an interest in financing campaigns, assassinating opponents of their friendly politicians and so forth. If all these attempts are not successful then there is no option than to develop a local drug market! Comrades, I believe that is where we are now. The drug business is no longer sustained by exports to the USA but kept alive by a growing number of addicted outgoing youngsters in Ghana.

I feel compelled to convey this message from the drug cartels to the people of Ghana, that they are not interested really in a local clientele if the government would turn a blind eye to the drug business. That way they get the drugs out of our border without having to corrupt public officials nor do they have to get our friends, brothers and sisters addicted to their products. Once the drugs are out of our jurisdiction we are better off, the USA can then be expected to deploy all its intelligence to stop the shipment from entering their society. The war on drugs is not ours and if we get ourselves into it we will end up been the unnecessary victims as it has been with the war on terror.

Why would the UK and her allies provide us with a body scanner to ensure drugs don’t leave our airports. Interestingly, we operate the body scanners to target outgoing and not incoming travellers. For me the fact that the EU and US are not interested in actively helping stop the drugs coming in through our seas in huge private ships but rather what gets out is an indication that our interest as a nation has not been factored into the scheme and for that matter we should care less what ranking they choose to place us on for non compliance. For those of you who may doubt the growth of the domestic ‘coke’ market the recent arrest of Abubakar Nallah, the club president of Mighty Jets FC for running a drug distribution ring in Accra should serve a good example. Drug cartels don’t care where they sell their drugs, they care how much money and demand they can get, and if local ‘entrepreneurs’ like Nallah can provide that then they would do business in Ghana. In the meantime and whilst we can not stop them bringing in the drugs does it not make sense to let them get it out of Ghana and let JFK and Heathrow arrest them?

Please switch on your conspiracy theory brain wavelengths.

Collins Dakurah