Murewa North villagers wallow in poverty

HARARE - Murewa North villagers are wallowing in poverty as their crops have been affected by incessant rains, while the local leadership has abandoned the constituency resulting in general lack of development.

Villagers survive on subsistence farming but they are failing to make a living because of climate change and are at a loss to ascertain what type of farming to follow.

Roy Makaure, 32, said: “Rain is continually pounding and we are told that this is climate change but we do not know how best we can farm. The government through its Agriculture ministry should quickly tell us what to do because there is going to be massive hunger this year.”

Makaure said youths in Murewa North are living a miserable life because they do not have any developmental projects to engage in besides farming.

The youths spend most of their time idling at home without much to do.

Langton Matuku, aspiring MP candidate for Murewa North (MDC) , said villagers are not receiving any support from different farming organisations.

“The fertiliser companies used to provide the commodity to villagers on a loan basis but this is no more. Villagers used to sell their produce to GMB and they would be paid handsomely for their produce on delivery but this is no longer the case. GMB no longer pays farmers on time,” Matuku said.

Villagers used to obtain income from selling their cattle in times of trouble but this is no longer the case in Murewa North. A number of cattle perished in the drought of 2008 and some sold their oxen to butcheries and town dwellers for less than the market price due to poverty.

Families that used to own an average of 10 cattle now own three or two with some with no cows at all, said Matuku. The lack of draught power has severely affected villagers as they are facing problems in farming activities.

A number of youths failed in their schooling and they do not have hope of rewriting the exams due to poverty. Gabriel Chitate of Bhunu village said he sat for his “O” Level exams in 2011 and passed only two subjects.

“I completed my “O” Levels in 2011 but I only passed two subjects. I want to rewrite but my parents cannot afford to pay for my schooling again. I wish some projects were available for me to generate money to pay for my school fees,” he said.

Lack of income generating projects seems to be the number one worry of youth in Murewa North. Batsirai Kanyemba, 30, Zanu PF chairperson for Tongogara branch, ward 8 showed the Daily News a project proposal that he crafted but had no clue where to take it to. The project was a noble one, outlining his need to engage in a cattle fattening project that would bring him a couple of thousands of dollars on completion.

Kanyemba asked the Daily News to help him with his project saying he did not know how to present it to his leaders in Harare that were preaching the indigenisation gospel.

“I have written everything down, I need about $2 500 to buy some cattle and fatten them in about four months and then sell them. But I don’t know how to go about presenting my project.”

The youthful leader felt that his area’s MP, David Parirenyatwa has neglected the constituency: “Our MP has neglected us because he never came back to us. I think he has abandoned us. The only project that I remember him delivering was one that was started by his wife; she donated a machine to make peanut butter.”

The HIV and Aids scourge is still haunting Murehwa North as the nearest clinic is in Chitova Village 12km away. The other clinic is 16km away at Murewa District clinic. “We are having problems travelling to the clinics. We do not have reliable transport in the villages and the road network is very poor.

The tarred road that we have is the one that runs through from Harare and it does not link with other roads in the villages. The roads are pathetic and this takes a toll on us,” said Misheck Mahachi, councillor for ward 5.

The Daily News spoke to youths during the Centre for Community Development in Zimbabwe organised football for peace tournament at Zaranyika School in Murewa North, last week. We discovered that most youths did not have national identity cards, because they never had access to birth certificates.

Tinashe Musindi, 21, said his future is bleak because he does not have an identity card. “My parents died a long time ago and they left me without a birth certificate. Now if I want an ID I have to provide transport money for the village head to serve as a witness and also to provide his food and money for his efforts.” - Margaret Chinowaita, Community Affairs Editor

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