Malawi Police in Nkhotakota have arrested a 26-year-old Rasta man for illegally being found in possession of 31 kilograms of Cannabis Sativa locally knowns as ‘chamba’ at Kaombe police checkpoint in the district.
Cannabis is regarded as a “sacred commodity” by Rastas and they have been campaigning to have laws allow them to use and sell cannabis as part of their religious beliefs and culture.
Dung their routine search on the night of February 4, 2015, police found Pitilizani Lapukeni with the ‘luggage’ aboard a National Bus Company bus registration BQ 4132 going to Blantyre from Mzuzu.
“Soon after the bus arrived at Kaombe Police roadblock, all passengers disembarked for police search. In the process, they discovered five baskets put together and concealed in black plastic paper which contained the illicit drug,” said Nkhotakota Police spokesperson Williams Kaponda.
The weed is widely grown in Nkhotakota.
He added: “A few minutes later the man came to a police officer conducting the search and offered him K4 000 to let him pass with the dangerous drugs. This prompted the officers manning the roadblock to identify the owner of the baskets and was immediately arrested.”
The suspect has been charged with an offence of being found in possession of Cannabis Sativa without license contrary to section 4 (a) of Dangerous Drug Regulation and 19 (1) of the Dangerous Drug Act.
Lapukeni hails from Mbaluku village, Senior Chief Malengachanzi in the district and is expected to appear before Nkhotakota Magistrate Court soon.
Following such growing cases which have become rampant in the district, police have appealed to the general public to come forward with information that will lead to curbing the malpractice.
Police, further remind the general public that rewards are still being made to patriotic Malawians who come forward with information which lead to the arrest of the drug traffickers.
But the Rasta continue to argue that the constitution allows everyone’s entitlement to freedom of religion, including Rastafarian which allows use of Chamba regarded as a “sacred commodity” and “sacrament incense” with authority for its use derived from the Bible.
They regard Chamba as a herb originally grown in the Garden of Eden for the use of mankind for religious, culinary and medicinal purposes.
And that they don’t sell Chamba in open market as they do it in their “Rastafarian gatherings” comparing the practise of Christian churches holding summer fairs and coffee mornings for fund raising purposes.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :