Kenya: Shun Drugs and Extremism, Mandera Woman Rep Tells Youth

Mandera County Woman Representative Amina Gedow has urged the local youth to shun the negative practices of drug abuse and joining extremist groups.

Ms Gedow said the two vices have had a negative impact on Mandera by stagnating development.

"We have struggled to get on moving positively but drug abuse and effects of extremism have remained a challenge that we need to deal with for good," she said.

She complained that lack of reliable local workforce is due to the effects of drugs and extremism.

"We cannot have local teachers, health workers and many other professionals because drugs have taken toll on many youth," she said.

YOUTH ENGAGEMENT

The woman rep cited lack of youth engagement as the main drive to drug abuse and joining extremists groups.

"Despite limited resources at my disposal, we have to pull together as local stakeholders to ensure our youth don't engage in crime but do something meaningful in life," she said.

She was speaking on Sunday as she presided over a final football match sponsored by National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF).

The tournament brought together several teams from all the six sub-counties in Mandera and has been running for three months.

Afia FC from Mandera North hammered Real Stima FC from Mandera East 3-2 to lift the trophy.

"Sporting activities keep our youth engaged most of the times and we have to get more of these activities going to wade off the vices," she said.

ENGAGE YOUTH

She challenged the county government to find ways of engaging the youth in Mandera to reduce drug abuse and violent extremism.

The most abused drugs in Mandera include bhang, codeine, cocaine, and miraa.

Elders in some villages have been forced to ban the sale and use of miraa in a bid to safeguard future generations.

County Sports Chief Officer Abdikadir Adan Alio said there were plans to launch several sporting activities in Mandera to keep the youth engaged.

"We have a series of sporting activities in the pipeline that will see our youth engaged throughout the year in our efforts to deal with drug and substance abuse and extremism," he said.

The Mandera half marathon is planned for June and it will be a yearly event.

A number of youth in Mandera have in the past been joining terror groups like Al-Shabaab with others falling victim to extremists based in Libya.

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