Mkhosi battles aridity

Mangwe constituency in Matabeleland South is an area with much potential but it lags behind because of perennial drought and crippling water shortages.

Edward Mkhosi, Mangwe MP
Edward Mkhosi, Mangwe MP

It is divided into 15 rural wards and has a total population of 78,427, of whom some 43,000 are registered as voters. Edward Mkhosi of the MDC led by Welshman Ncube has been the Member of Parliament for this Kalanga-dominated area since 2000 when the two MDC formations were still united.

“Generally, the constituency is very dry. This year was worse than ever – no-one harvested anything from their fields. Rivers and dams have all run dry and animals and people are scrounging for water,” said Mkhosi, who is also the Co-Chairperson of the Constitutional Select Committee.

Through the Dabane Trust, which he coordinates, Mkhosi sourced funds from the British Embassy for the drilling of six boreholes in the constituency.

The boreholes are backed by a 1,000 litre tank which is capable of irrigating a two hectare garden and providing water to about 100 cattle at any given time. Each borehole supports more than 50 families who grow vegetables and other crops.

The drought has also affected the harvesting of mopani worms, popularly known as amacimbi, protein-rich caterpillars of the Emperor moth family.

“The poor rains have chased away our precious food and only source of income. Some of us used to sustain our families through selling amacimbi. Life is now really very difficult for us,” said George Phulu, a villager from Makorokoto.

Mkhosi said the introduction of the multi-currency system has seriously affected the standard of living in the area.

“During the Zimbabwe dollar era, this constituency was supported by remittances from locals who work in neighbouring Botswana and South Africa. But the introduction of the multiple currencies has stopped that,” he said.

All 15 wards benefited from the Constituency Development Fund. “I called all the councillors including those from Zanu (PF) to a meeting and asked them to identify projects in their respective wards. Most of the money was used to buy school furniture and repair boreholes in the area,” said Mkhosi.

“There is a very disturbing trend in my constituency whereby school children prematurely cut short their education and go to look for employment in neighbouring countries. We need to come up with a robust campaign to teach our children on the importance of education. We have just finished writing our constitution and I can assure you that the draft constitution, if adopted, holds a lot for the future of our children ‘s education,” added the MP.

Post published in: News

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