Under the Drug Control and Enforcement Act 2015, the premier automatically chairs the DCEA, with eight ministers serving as members of the anti-drugs authority.
Dr Magufuli maintained that the anti-drug Act of 2015 that repelled the Drugs and Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Drugs Act, empowers government leaders at all levels to fight the social and economic menace.
The Magogoni office occupant was speaking shortly after swearing-in the DCEA Commissioner General Rogers Sianga, Commissioner General of the Immigration Department Dr Anna Makakala and three ambassadors.
The Act identifies the Ministers for Works, Home Affairs, Education, Finance, Foreign Affairs, Health, Agriculture and Information dockets as members of the newly formed anti-narcotics agency.
“I highly appreciate the tenth Parliament that sat between 2010 and 2015 under the then Speaker Anne Makinda for enacting this new Act and repelling the old, ineffective legislation.
I am equally grateful to former President (Jakaya) Kikwete for assenting to the new law,” said Dr Magufuli, charging that the legislation empowers government leaders at all levels in Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar to deal with drug abusers and dealers.
The president was apparently responding to dissenting voices from some legislators and members of the public who have been questioning the Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner Paul Makonda’s authority to lead the ongoing war against drugs in the city.
A number of regional commissioners countrywide have already joined the crackdown in their areas, borrowing a leaf from the Dar es Salaam RC.
President Magufuli on the other hand decried some officials within the government whom he said were blame for ‘thwarting’ the appointment of the DCEA Commissioner General, the top official in the anti-narcotics drive, countrywide.
“It is just recently that even the PM learned he was supposed to chair the authority because the information was kept off from him…I’m not aware if the ministers who are members are aware of their role in the authority,” he fumed.
President Magufuli further blamed what he described as ‘bad apples’ within the government, accusing them of keeping the key information and, as a result, delaying the appointment of the DCEA boss.
Dr Magufuli accused drug barons of not caring about the effects of narcotics on the lives of people but rather driven with greed for wealth which they use to bribe officials to attain their goals.With Tanzania being mentioned as among the transit hubs of illicit substances in the region, President Magufuli urged Tanzanians to support all people who are on the forefront to tackle the illicit trade.
He reiterated that no one should be spared in the fight against drugs, directing the new DCEA Commissioner General to work bravely in dealing with criminals involved in drug cartels. Speaking at the event, the premier said the war against the illicit substances had just started, vowing to keep it a sustainable blitz.
“I thus direct all Regional Commissioners and other leaders to continue with efforts to clear out the menace in the society. Courts of law should as well expedite hearings of drug-related cases,” he urged.
The premier was optimistic that the establishment of the anti-narcotics authority and appointment of its boss will play a critical role in curbing importation, distribution and use of illicit drugs in the country.