Alleged rotten fish distribution angers San community

14 Jan 2016 16:12pm
By Faith Sankwasa
KATIMA MULILO, 14 JAN (NAMPA) – A group of marginalised San community members living in the Kyarecan village at the Waya-Waya resettlement in Zambezi Region, have allegedly received rotten fish as drought relief food aid.
On Tuesday, members of about 49 households at the village each received six batches of dried bream and eel fish to supplement the maize meal distributed as food aid. They claimed the fish was rotten.
During a field visit by Nampa to the village on Thursday, Kyarecan village headman Jim Ben said the community is not pleased with the rotten fish distributed to them but they have no choice but to consume it.
“The fish has a terrible smell. When it was distributed to us, we complained to the officials that the fish is not fit for human consumption but our pleas were ignored. We are now forced to dust and rinse off worms on the fish before we can cook it,” he said.
Ben added that some community members have since started complaining of stomach aches and cramps, as the alleged rotten fish and maize meal are prepared using salty borehole water.
“The water we draw from the borehole is very salty. It is hard enough drinking it without getting diarrhoea. So one can imagine how we have to drink bad water and eat rotten fish as our relish.”
The headman further complained that the Zambezi Regional Council and the Sibbinda Constituency Councillor, Ignatius Chunga are neglecting them as they have not visited them to assess the level of poverty the community is faced with.
“We have complained numerous times but no one from the regional council or our constituency councillor is coming to visit us to see how we are suffering. We do not know on whose doors we should be knocking.”
Contacted for comment, Zambezi Regional Governor Lawrence Sampofu said he was still on leave and referred all queries to regional council chairperson Beaven Munali, who said he is not aware of the rotten food distribution.
“I am not aware of such a complaint about rotten food being distributed to the said community. I also cannot answer your question as I cannot speak on what is happening at that constituency, so I advise you to contact Chunga to explain,” Munali said.
Attempts to get hold of Chunga proved futile as his mobile phone was turned off.
In September 2010, Nampa carried a report on the issues facing the same community.
The community made up of 100 San people relocated from the Macaravan informal settlement at Katima Mulilo in 2011. They complained about rampant poverty, unemployment, lack of clean water, electricity, and health care at their new home.
They further complained that although the water and electricity lines pass through their village, they are not benefiting from it, and that food aid is only distributed every four months.
This reporter observed that the 5 000 litre water tank in which they used to be provided with clean drinking water three times a week, has been broken since March 2014, and is still lying idle in overgrown grass.
A kindergarten project the community started in 2012 is also still closed down, as the villagers wait to be provided with decent infrastructure by Government.