Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
POLICE in Bulawayo and other stakeholders have said they will be taking the anti-Vuzu parties campaign to schools as they believe arresting the youngsters is not the ultimate solution in dealing with their wayward behaviour.
Police raised concern that there is a growing trend of youths causing anarchy in the city centre or organising Vuzu parties where alcohol and drugs are abused leading to unprotected sex.
Over the weekend police arrested 131 youths for public drinking and criminal nuisance after they went on a rampage on Saturday causing disorder and shouting obscenities in the city’s Central Business District.
Some of the youths whose ages range between 14 and 24 on Monday appeared in court with three of them sentenced to three months in prison which was wholly suspended on condition that they complete 105 hours of community service.
Other minors who are mainly school going children were cautioned and released into the custody of their parents and guardians.
Bulawayo acting police spokesperson Inspector Abednico Ncube yesterday said as a follow up to a multi-stakeholder meeting held last week, police will be taking the anti-Vuzu campaign to schools.
“We have lined up several anti-Vuzu campaigns in schools targeting school children particularly in secondary and high schools. However, in the long run we want to include children in primary schools mainly because we have observed this group of children partaking in these parties,” said Insp Ncube.
“We had a stakeholders meeting which included officials from the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Social Welfare Department, pre-trial officers and parent bodies. So we will be visiting schools and we will be appealing to education officials to give our officers time to address pupils. The campaign will be done in the presence of some School Development Committee members who represent the parents.”
He said from police interactions with some of the teenagers it has become clear that their behaviour is also a result of communities not paying attention to their needs.
Insp Ncube said youths should be taught about the dangers of using drugs.
Following Saturday’s arrest of the youths, police recovered sex enhancing tablets, which experts said could have long term side effects on their health.
Insp Ncube said police will also be targeting drug peddlers in schools.
National Aids Council (NAC) Bulawayo province said it will also come up with a strategy to deal with Vuzu parties.
Bulawayo provincial Aids co-ordinator Mrs Sinatra Nyathi said the organisation will also rope in parents as they do not seem to know about their children’s risky behaviour.
“We want to engage the parent, we also want to engage the schools and we are working with ZRP among other key stakeholders. We want to engage the kombi associations, the police drug section and the victim friendly unit. We want to come up with a strategy and implement it,” she said.
Bulawayo Deputy Provincial Education Director Mr Thabani Sibanda said the Ministry was already conducting campaigns through its schools psychological services department.
He said the Ministry will continue to work with its partners in dealing with the problem.