People share drinking water with animals

Dimitria Lubinga collecting water from an unsafe open well that is 20 minutes walk from her house, Habeenzu village, Zambia
Dimitria Lubinga collecting water from an unsafe open well that is 20 minutes walk from her house, Habeenzu village, Zambia

Over 12,000 residents of Chikonkomene area in Chisamba District are sharing drinking water with animals for over 20 years.

In an interview with ZANIS during a field day at Nicholas Farm, Senior Headman John Musopela disclosed that villagers in Chikonkomene have not had clean drinking water for a long time despite numerous appeals to different governments.

Mr Musopelo said the villagers in Chikonkomene have being relying on Sikita, Kamunyama and Momboshi streams which are drying up early before the dry season.

“If I take you to the streams, you will be surprised because even before the rains end, Chikonkomene stream already has little water and it has dried up. This is slowly becoming an annual thing where we have to draw water from Momboshi, which is a long distance from here and if you don’t have an ox-cat, you suffer,” complained.

The Senior Headman said the area had been neglected by the people they voted to represent them.

“We have being voting for a long time but our representatives have not being considering us when they are in power, we have not seen our Councilor since we voted for him,” he said.

Musopelo complained that the challenges facing people living in rural areas are too many and need urgent attention.

He said Liteta alone had 24 villages and a population of over 2 800 while Chikonkomene has between 12 000 to 15 000 people all depending on Momboshi Health Post making it very difficult for them to receive quality health care.

Mr Musopelo said the area will not produce a good yield this year because of inadequate rainfall.

He said people in his area are likely to starve this year because they depend on maize and have not diversified for lack resources.

He appealed to government to dialogue with private companies producing fertilizer to reduce the price of fertilizer now that it was produced locally.

“We can’t understand something here, why is it that fertilizer is still expensive even when it is produced in Zambia, can’t our government talk to the manufacturers on our behalf so that they reduce the price,” asked Musopelo.

He expressed gratitude to the government for giving farmers fertilizer through the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) but added that it was not enough for the small scale farmers.

“Co-operatives only give four bags, two basal and two top dressing which only cater for half a Lima,” said Musopelo.

He further complained that there has being no livestock restocking in his area and that the villagers have only heard about people in other villages receiving livestock.

The Headman said people in his area suffer a lot when the rains are not good because only a few villagers are into livestock farming.

Mr Masupelo said there is only one dip tank in the area which is inadequate to meet the veterinary demands of livestock in the area.