The Nexus Of Illegal Drugs And Conflict

Production, sale and use, of illicit drugs have proved to be a factor accelerating violence and complicating peace building efforts. Illegal armed groups participation in the narcotics industry has very high stakes. This links the political factor to promoting illegal drugs production. Political leaders offer protection and support in exchange for various favors, escalating conflicts through narcotics. The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has continuously recognized the role of drug trafficking in conflicts. In its recent resolutions, drug trafficking ranks second from arms trafficking as the most frequent occurring form of crime.

The main reason why illegal drugs production and use is rampant in some countries more than others is weak social and state control on individual behavior, that is, a society where government laws are easily evaded and social norms tolerate such evasions (Thoumi 2007: 126). It has become evident that the world’s fragile states and conflict zones are attractive to transnational organized crime groups which increases the likelihood of continued intersection between narcotics and conflict (RHIPTO, 2018). Even after these conflicts are supposedly resolved the illegal drugs operations may still remain because the peace building options used secluded them in the resolution process.

Drug control and counter narcotics war has potential of establishing rule of law and enhancing peace thus should be considered a priority in peace building. A more coordinated and effective focus to address illegal drugs trade especially in conflict zones to reduce the potential of the trade fueling conflict or causing developmental and humanitarian crisis is inevitable.

By Lucy Wairimu