By Dumisani Nyoni
Gwanda, October 12, 2016 – LIVESTOCK in drought prone Gwanda area in Matabeleland South have started dying in numbers due to thirst and shortage of pastures following poor rainfall experienced last year.
Chief Nhlamba and chief Mathema told RadioVOP on Tuesday this week during a visit that the situation was dire and in need of urgent intervention.
Although they could not readily provide statistics, they described the situation as worrisome to villagers who have used cattle as their source of wealth.
The traditional leaders said that in a bid to prevent further deaths through thirst, villagers were digging wells in dry rivers and also pouring water in big bowls for their livestock to drink.
“The situation is bad here as our livestock have started dying due to thirst. Villagers have resorted to fetching water for their livestock from the wells they would have dug in the rivers,” Chief Nhlamba said.
He said there were no dams and boreholes in the area, urging the government to construct more dams and boreholes to avert future crises.
“We appeal to the government to build more dams so that we can harvest water for our livestock. We also need boreholes,” he said.
Chief Mathema also echoed similar sentiments saying government needed to intervene before the situation become uncontrollable.
He said the livelihoods of villagers were under constant threat as they depended on their livestock.
Chiefs also revealed that due to lack of grazing areas as a result of poor rainfall last year, some villagers have taken their livestock for feeding in big plots within the area.
However, those without money to do that theirs were dying.
Zimbabwe last season experienced an El Niño-stimulated dry spell, characterised by extremely hot and dry weather conditions, which left people and livestock in dire straits.
Livestock is a major source of wealth and a source of currency within the Ndebele-speaking people in the area.
Matabeleland South has over the years lost thousands of cattle due to drought, caused by poor rains.