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Security officer honored for excellent performance 

Moses Kimenchu receives certificate from IPOA Chair Macharia Njeru at a recent event in Nairobi for exemplary service to wananchi. Photo by Judy Muguongo

Kimenchu teaches secondary school students on drug abuse Photo by Judy Muguongo

Kimenchu teaches secondary school students on drug abuse
Photo by Judy Muguongo

For over five years, a security officer from Murang’a County has been creating awareness on drugs and substance abuse among the youth.

Moses Kimenchu, an administration police officer based in Murang’a stands out among his colleagues in this noble mission and he was among the officers feted by Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) for their distinguished services in May 2017.

The 33 year old officer says when growing up he saw many cases of school dropout which were caused by drug abuse.

Kimenchu says that his family was not spared by the drug menace as one of his brothers dropped out of school due to addiction.

He says it really pained him because the family could not afford to take him to rehabilitation centre hence his life was wasted.

“I realised right from young age that drugs were affecting many people in the society and vowed to do something to help the affected,” he says.

He adds that though the resources were little, he began creating awareness among school going children.

After joining security forces back in 2002, Kimenchu says, he had met many people who had fallen into the trap of drug addiction.

The officer says besides providing security for the people around him, he found it necessary to give them information that could help them change their lives.

The soft spoken officer has been holding campaigns against drug abuse by visiting primary and secondary schools targeting the young people.

In addition, he has been visiting churches and in December, he visits many initiates after he realized that many were introduced into drugs by their care givers during this time.

“The youths are the future leaders in this country, hence I zeroed down on them because they are at higher risks of indulging into drugs as compared to other age groups,” says Kimenchu.

The officer points out that lack of awareness and peer pressure are among the leading causes of drug and substance abuse among the youths and pupils.

He says frequent interaction with the youths affected by the drugs menace has helped them to open up, hence beginning the healing process.

Kimenchu says confidentiality when dealing with persons affected by drugs is crucial, adding that the guardians or parents of many of these youths are not aware of the situation.

During the sessions, he uses teaching aids such as pictures to help the children and youths understand the impact of drugs on their bodies.

He says boys are more susceptible to slip into the trap of drug addiction than girls with the major drugs abused being bhang, tobacco, cigarettes and alcohol.

Among the major contributing factors highlighted by those affected include peer pressure, escalating poverty levels and family backgrounds where the parents especially fathers are drunkards and smokers and they do it in the presence of their children.

The officer also points an accusing finger at the parents who often do not counsel their children leaving them to explore life on their own.

Kimenchu says that the war against drugs and substance abuse in the country can only be won if all relevant authorities work as a team.

He adds that the government should allocate more resources for awareness creation on drug and substance abuse.

Kimenchu also extends his hand to his colleagues by having guidance and counseling sessions aimed at creating self-awareness and managing stress.

According to Kimenchu, police officers are also vulnerable to stress and in most cases they indulge into alcohol and substance abuse to suppress the pressure.

The officer notes that security officers are prone to drug and substance abuse due to the nature of their duties.

He has however faced several challenges and it has not been easy because he has to build confidence amongst his colleagues to make them open up.

Among the main reasons cited by officers as cause of stress and indulgence into alcoholism is, peer influence, working environment, traumatising incidences, financial constraints and easy accessibility to drinking sprees among others.

He says affected officers perform poorly and some of them end up being dismissed from their duties due to misconduct.

Kimenchu also points out that despite some officers finding it difficult to manage stress and control their drinking habit; they shy away from going to a rehabilitation centre for fear of stigma and loss of job.

The officer says he is in the process of recruiting over 400 officers in the region to help in creating awareness on drugs and substance abuse.

He expresses gratitude that the residents of Murang’a appreciate his work and this boosts his morale.
By Muguongo Judy

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