Livestock farmers complain of stock theft

Residents of Mahelane locality, in the southern Mozambican district of Namaacha, on Saturday complained to President Armando Guebuza about persistent stock theft in the region.

Some people who spoke at Guebuza’s rally, part of his “Open and Inclusive Presidency in Maputo Province”, said they are losing their position as livestock, and particularly cattle, breeders because of the repeated attacks by groups of rustlers. They also complained that the alleged thieves enjoy impunity and, if they fall into the hands of the police, they are released.

Muzungo Salazar told Guebuza that he had lost all his cattle to the stock thieves. As a result the ploughs and carts his oxen once pulled are paralysed and rusting.

He said that some of the thieves are arrogant enough to send warnings to their victims that can strike at any moment – which then happens. Others declare categorically that they will never be arrested because the money obtained from selling the stolen cattle “solves everything” with the police.

Ananias Marco asked the cattle thieves to introduce themselves publicly, just as their victims were now doing. “Raise your hands all of you who have stolen our cattle”, he said ironically.

In his reaction, Guebuza expressed concern at the stock theft. The rustlers, he said, were perpetuating poverty among people who were making efforts night and day to progress, at the cost of much sacrifice.

But he also criticized those livestock owners who let their cattle graze in fields belonging to farmers. “Those who have cattle must control them, so as not to compromise the effort of those who make a living from cultivating crops”, he said.

Data in AIM’s possession show that, although the number of cattle has increased considerably in Mahelane, the number of livestock farmers has declined. Thus in 2011 there were 165 livestock farmers. But a year later the figure had fallen to 155. Over the same year, the number of cattle in the locality rose from 2,138 to 2,324 head.

Post published in: Africa News

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