NAIROBI – In a significant move to combat drug and substance abuse in Kenya’s coastal region, the Association of Pentecostal and Evangelical Clergy of Kenya (APECK) has joined forces with the National Campaign Against Drug and Alcohol Abuse (NACADA). This collaboration, formalized through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), is part of a concerted effort to rehabilitate addicts using community resources and religious leadership.
According to Kenya News Agency, APECK and NACADA’s agreement, signed in August at the Deputy President’s official residence and witnessed by Pastor Dorcas Rigathi, APECK Patron, leverages the influence of clergy in the rehabilitation process. They aim to use a community rehabilitation model, previously initiated in Central Kenya by Pastor Dorcas Rigathi, which has already seen success with 125 individuals reformed and reintegrated into society.
According to APECK National Chairman Rev. Fredrick Ngugi, the initiative has brought together over 300 clergymen from across the Coast region for training by NACADA on effective rehabilitation strategies. Their ambitious goal is to rehabilitate one million vulnerable Kenyans in collaboration with various government agencies. Rev. Ngugi highlighted the pervasive nature of the drug menace in Kenya, particularly in the Central and Coast regions, where it has claimed many lives.
He emphasized the critical role of religious leaders in guiding addicts towards reform and productive societal roles. Rev. Ngugi called for compassion towards drug addicts, advocating for their treatment as patients rather than outcasts, and stressed the significance of their plight, noting that drug abuse has resulted in more deaths than COVID-19 in the country.
Bishop Joseph Maisha, APECK Vice Chairman, underscored the need for spiritual nourishment during and after rehabilitation. He pointed out the alarming trend of young boys, as young as ten and eleven, engaging in criminal activities in the Coast region, a major tourist destination. Bishop Maisha expressed concerns about the influence of drug barons on the youth and the resulting fear in communities like Kisauni and Likoni.
As part of their action plan, APECK and NACADA will identify drug addicts in various drug dens and facilitate their transfer to rehabilitation centers. Bishop Maisha also called for stronger government action against drug barons, including the enactment of stringent laws to curb their influence.
This initiative represents a holistic approach to tackling drug abuse, combining legal, social, and spiritual strategies to address a critical issue affecting Kenyan society.