By Criswell Chisango
KARIBA- Sixty five year old unemployed Dennis Kaimbanemoyo is in distress after he was kicked out of Hama Maoko Cooperative and has no better words for his former members.
He blames other members for being too harsh on him and not accommodating him after he failed to pay subscription fees but are hard on him to pay off within six months.
‘’I cannot raise $1500.00 to be readmitted into the cooperative and there are no benefits for me after I had failed to raise required amount for the past two years.’’ He says.
Kaimbanemoyo’s case is not an isolated one as some three members of Chawara Cooperative are in dispute with ten other members ventured into partnership with Mozambique company in 2011.
The project did not yield positive results and after three years, they came back only for the trio to reclaim ownership, shutting out the others members who cannot access cooperative property.
‘’The dispute has not been solved and officials from ministries of Small to Medium and National Parks are taking their time to resolve the issue’’ says a member speaking on condition that he is not named.
These two scenarios aptly explains how mostly fishing cooperatives are facing challenges in the resort town of Kariba that has forced some to fold in the resort town of Kariba throwing their members into back into the streets, joining several hundreds of unemployed youths.
‘’There is no hope in these cooperatives that are operating illegally as they cannot raise enough funds for their membership to earn dividends’’ says a National Park officials speaking on condition that he is not named.
According to a document from Lake Kariba Fisheries Research Institute there are six cooperative allocated 2 fishing units each. These are Gondogara, Matusadonha, Hamamaoko, Cizuminano, Zviedzo and Sanyati.
‘’There are also women and youths cooperatives under consideration’’ says a document dated 30 January 2012 and signed by one Peter Mwera on behalf of Acting Chief Aquatic Ecologist in Radio VOP’s possession.
However, another official document from Ministry of Small to Medium Enterprises says cooperatives are failing due to lack of financial resources and management skills.
‘’Many of cooperatives new members need training, business partnership and management skills. Majority of the founding members are late and their families have no clue of management. There is need to fight for permit processing that is delayed’’ says the document signed by Cooperative officer Julius Chiwara.
Kariba Cooperative Association chairman Joshua Zvanyanya admits that the cooperatives have gone down in Kariba due to high costs of permits required by National Parks among other issues that are affecting their operations.
‘’The cash crunch is affecting everyone and most of our members are not formally employed and cannot raise $2500.00 required by their ministry annually. We are in distress and we appeal to responsible authorities to consider us when disbursements are made to revive the economy through job creation’’ says Zvanyanya.
Kariba resort town hinges on tourism and fishing industry employing several thousands.
Kariba Member of Parliament Isaac Mackenzie admits that there is rampant corruption within the kapenta fishing industry.
‘’I am deeply concerned over rampant corruption within National Parks who are mandated to issue out permits and have expressed my concern to the Minister and other responsible arms of the Government. It is a major concern as most cooperative are no longer operational due to corruption’’ says Mackenzie.
Kaimbanemoyo believes there is need to revive the fishing industry but the older generation is failing to grasp how they can get funding.
‘’We know that permits are being issued through kickbacks demanded by some officials from National Parks and we hope the Government will act to stop the rot’’, he adds, resigning to fate.