Monday, December 30, 2013

Mugurameno villagers appeal for relief food
By Oswald Sichone in Kafue
Sun 10 Nov. 2013, 14:00 CAT

VILLAGERS in Mugurameno area in Kafue district have appealed to the government to help them with relief food because their crop fields had been destroyed by wild animals.

The villagers made an appeal when area member of parliament Obvious Mwaliteta visited the area to try and resolve land disputes which have characterised the Goba chiefdom.

Margaret Kambanje, who spoke on behalf of the other villagers, said they had stopped farming because their fields were being destroyed by elephants and hippos which had terrorised the area.

"The problem we have here in Mugurameno is that every time an elephant kills a human being or destroys our crop field, ZAWA does not come to our aid; they say that we don't have transport and bullets to kill the animals. But when an elephant or hippo has been killed, the whole place is filled with ZAWA officials, even those from Lusaka find their way here. Maybe, it's because they want to share the meat from the slain animals. ZAWA seems to be more concerned about wildlife than the lives of human beings," Kambanje complained.

She said the damage that was done to their crops by the elephants was irreparable, adding that most villagers were surviving on local wild fruits known as 'Masau'.

Kambanje also appealed to Mwaliteta to help them have a police post in the area, saying lack of police presence had resulted in a lot of criminal acts.

"Ba honorable, we don't have a police post in the whole chiefdom, and this has resulted in lawlessness; recently, some women were arrested by Chirundu police because they blocked the road and broke a vehicle belonging to ZAWA after an elephant killed a human being. We need para-military officers here in Mugurameno to protect us because we are located at the border with Zimbabwe where anything can happen at any time," said Kambanje.

And Mwaliteta instructed Kafue district administrative officer Ngoni Moyo who had accompanied him to Mugurameno to take note of the villagers' concerns and ensure that they benefit from relief food that is given under the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit.

Mwaliteta assured them that the government would do everything possible to ensure that no human being in Mugurameno died of hunger, adding that he would engage stakeholders in order to secure food for the people of Chiawa.

Mugurameno, which is 150 kilometres south east of Kafue, is well known for its frequent cases of human-animal conflicts and this has made the area hunger-stricken. Villagers survive on fish and government relief food.

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