Its Area 47 again. Illicit drugs, teenage prostitution and uncontrollable drinking of ethanol based alcohol is on the rise, Nyasa Times has established.
An investigation has revealed that children as young as 14 are now doing more drugs, prostitution and getting access to liquor in Area 47 of the capital Lilongwe tham any other place.
At Bwandilo, benches holding jerry cans and small bottles of ethanol-based alcohol are being sold outside the Club 47 in front of Burundi owned food stalls.
Young people aged between 14 and 17, by the time of Nyasa Times visit were seen to being served with this liquor openly.
Just right on the same corner across the purchasing place lies a newly rebranded supermarket called Mfumu.
Beside it these youngsters sit and drink the liquor while a rolled marijuana twist make rounds.
Our team moved behind the famous Third World Bar owners by a renowned businessman. Behind this bar, boys and girls from seemingly well established homes gather to share codeine cough syrup diluted in soft drinks.
The codeine syrup is known for its addictive tendency to users and is often abused by the youths with unsuspecting parents not knowing the dangers of it.
As the dark creeps in, Oriental Bar well known as Pa Ma China becomes a beehive of teenagers as young as 14 years from across many townships.
It’s here where the girls get hooked with drunken men and are ushered into small, smelly rooms behind the dance floor where sex takes place.
Our team on Friday visited the famous Majestic Cottage owned by an elite family also operating some businesses in construction industry.
Despite many calls from concerned neighbours and parents for the owners to sanitize the place, girls from all over the country book rooms for months where sex for cash takes place.
Our reporter asked the receptionist for a space to book in for two nights. The receptionist responded that the place was fully booked for the week.
In the rooms, men come, men go. Leaving behind money enough for the occupants to pay for more nights.
It is in the calm gardens of this cottage that drugs are administered. Nigerian nationals are seen to be visiting for a short while and leave. Within few minutes the place is packed into frenzy. Drugs have been supplied.
In homes surrounding these spots, parents are paying huge price of stress and depression.
Kids have moved in to steal anything they lay hands on without mercy. They threaten their parents with sharp objects if tried to stop.
Few teenagers have confided to Nyasa Times that they resort stealing because they owe the drug lords money. They call their business, nyemba, an undercover name of selling and distribution of drugs as if they are selling beans.
In sector 2 of the same Area 47 sprout a magnificent and beautiful outing place for adult called The Epic. It’s a high end hanging place. Pricey to patronise. But within 40metres radius around this place lie several spots patronised by youngsters as young as 14 smoking marijuana, drinking ethanol-based alcohol, injecting drugs and drinking more Codeine cough syrup diluted with soft drinks.
The results from there are dire and dangerous.
More cars have been broken into and valuables around the Epic Bar stolen.
In around Bwandilo Area is a final place for most imbibers and these teens….the Chez Ntemba Night Club.
It is at this place only entry fee is collected from whoever comes in. It is debatable if owners make any meaningful money from alcohol sales of food because the kids and other people patronising are already high of cheap drugs and alcohol sourced elsewhere.
By morning break, most teenage visitors to Area 47 would have accessed drugs, unprotected sex and dangerous base of Alcohol.
Police are award of the developments but there is in action. Officials confided to Nyasa Times that situation is as it is because of corruption.
Those entrusted to do the cleaning job by enforcing the laws were reluctant to do so.
“We believe they get kickbacks,” one official said.
The Tourism Department and the Lilongwe City Council have become as useless as well as most of their officers get bribed by the owners of the institutions not to be shut down.
Our Investigations continue and in the next report will provide a catalogue of pictures obtained from all the sites mentioned as part of our name and shame drive to keep the Malawi society clean of drugs, teenage prostitution and illicit alcohol.