Starving villagers in Tsholotsho call out for govt assistance

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By Mbekezeli Ncube

PEOPLE living in the rural Tsholotsho in Matabeleland North province have pleaded with President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his government to assist them survive a devastating drought whose effects are worsening.

Villagers in Tshabandu in Tsholotsho’s Ward 19 under Chief Gampu Sithole have seen their woes also threaten their herds, a key source of their livelihoods.

The drought prone southern parts of the country are cattle ranching areas.

One resident who identified himself as Silas Ndlovu said their drought situation is unique in that even in times of good rainfall, the area still does not have dams to store the water.

“Our livestock is now facing challenges because of the shortage of water and we do not even have dams,” Ndlovu said.

“Our cattle now have nothing to eat. This drought is unbearable, and we have no idea what to do in order to make ends meet.

“Last year, we never had any good harvests because there were no rains. We are now appealing to the government to help us.”

Villagers desperate to survive the calamity now find themselves having to buy food from shop as well as stockfeed for their livestock.

This has however not been easy for many who do not have the means.

Ndlovu also said that people in his area feel forsaken as some districts in the country were receiving assistance from Non-Governmental Organisations.

“Other people like in Plumtree and other areas are getting help from NGOs but here in Tsholotsho, we are stranded and we are buying food on our own and if you do not have money, you are in trouble,” Ndlovu added.

Sifelani Ncube, another villager, said the government should assist by helping them with funds to start income generating projects that would enable them to survive difficult times.

“We are kindly appealing to the government to help us with some money so that we start some projects which can help us raise funds.

“For example, they can drill some boreholes for us so that we can grow some vegetables for sell,” he said.

The district has also been highly affected by climate change effects such as floods which have led to severe drought challenges.