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CommentaryON 2ND THOUGHT

On 2nd Thoughts: The Call for elected and public officials to undergo drug test

By Othello B. Garblah

Last week, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia Major General Price C. Johnson III made headlines when he suggested that all elected and appointed government officials undergo narcotics substance tests to help minimize or eradicate the proliferation of narcotics such as Kush and others across Liberia.

His call for both elected and appointed state officials to undergo tests for narcotics and other contrite banned substances in the country has raised more questions, particularly so when he claimed that this will help reduce or eradicate the flow of drugs in the country.

Narcotics substance such as cocaine, kush, and marijuana are said to be prevalent in the Liberian market. The recent arrest of a combined total of US131 million worth of cocaine in two successive bursts points to how traffickers have taken advantage of the country’s weak system over time.

Kush, for example, is said to be a very bad drug because once consumed, it makes you feel like you are in the next world and miserable at the same time. And if you don’t have good resistance, it can easily kill you. This particular type of drug is alleged to be imported by foreigners mainly Nigerians.

Come to think of it, Liberia recently amended its drug law which makes illegal drug cultivation, manufacture, transportation, and trafficking a first-degree felony offense that is not subject to bail and carries a mandatory 10 to 20-year prison term.

The Controlled Drugs and Substances Act of 2014 was passed into law on November 10, 2022, after the Senate concurred with the House of Representatives.

But according to General Johnson, the latest recommendation should be one of the requirements set forth for appointment in government as well as those wanting to occupy positions either at the Liberian Presidency or National Legislature

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However, to suggest that those expected to enforce such laws and protect the country from the insecurity which comes with the proliferation of dangerous drugs on the market also points to the kind of leaders now running the country.

Come to think of the Army Chief’s recommendation, it makes one wonder whether some of the bad leadership decisions being experienced in this country are because of leaders making these decisions after taking in these substances.

The recent University of Liberia riot involving some elected officials could have also been linked to their intake of these drugs like Kush.

The proliferation of narcotic drugs in any society brings about insecurity and this is evidenced by the rising army of Zogoes around the country.

The recommendation by the Army Chief was echoed by opposition Presidential Hopeful Tiawan Gingloe.

Gongloe also took the drug test debate to another level suggesting that President George Manneh Weah should be subjected to drug tests as well.

“They cannot be destroying our country when their children are not living here. And I highly suspect him of being involved in this narcotic, so he should also be subjected. Let him not avoid the drug test as he did with … Covid-19,” said Gongloe.

But whatever level this debate is being taken to, one thing is crystal clear the proliferation of drugs is hurting the country. And to suggest that those at the helm of decision-making in the country are participants only tells us the direction in which our country is moving.

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