MBABANE: Eugene Dube, the editor of the Swati Newsweek has warned of possible chaos and blood-bath as a powerful political mafia intensify moves to grab the dagga farming business from the powerless citizens within the rural areas.
The top investigative Journalist Eugene Dube who authored various articles about the cannabis industry while working for the Times of Eswatini and other publications in the country warned that dagga farmers will retaliate to the asset seizure currently effected by government through the police and the Eswatini Revenue Authority (ERA). Speaking during an interview with this publication on Wednesday, the editor said about 70 % of Emaswati are living below the poverty line and dagga farming was their only source of livelihoods.
“Government failed to create job opportunities, so these people ventured into dagga farming as means for survival. Government should meet with the dagga farmers to forge a way forward and the Eswatini Cannabis Association must lead the dialogue. The law should not target only the powerless but also the big sharks that also ventured into growing the illegal herb\", he said.
Dube added that the country has a mafia that is involved in dagga dealing adding that some of them are holding powerful positions even in Parliament.
“This mafia is greedy, it is grabbing the assets of these powerless farmers in order to benefit from the economy power that comes with dagga farming. Dagga wars will continue, the farmers will hit back as the police continue to raid them, we have seen them retaliating to dagga thieves in the past” he said.
Chairman of the Eswatini Cannabis Association in an earlier interview with this publication said the solution to this problem is to legalise the herb.
\"Legalising the herb will reduce the raids since everyone will be afforded the right to cultivate it freely. It is unfair to demonize dagga yet people die in the roads everyday due to accidents linked to alcohol consumption. We are yet to record a case of a person dying from the use of dagga. The law should not be selective, some people have siphoned public funds through illicit means by inflating prices when awarded government tenders. Corruption has hit hard on the economy, but those responsible are not brought to book, the focus is on dagga farmers whose only crime is growing an herb as means for survival,”he said.