The day Binga will vote Ephraim Ntlamo

Binga the land of hard working, and loyal people. Very patient people, look for them you will find them in Binga. Binga is one of the vast districts in Zimbabwe, but it is not known for its vastness. The Ba Tonga people who live in Binga had their own way of living which went through a shift after the construction of the Kariba dam. With the widening of the water body, they were separated from their Zambian equals, and they went to live over the valley.
They lived much on hunting, fishing and growing crops. They supplemented their poor rains with off season planting along the wet Zambezi valley. This is known as INCELELA, in the local Tonga. Binga is well known for being one of the hottest part of Zimbabwe, and it was natural for the people in Binga to embrace hunting as their important way of living. They lived and still live with some of the most dangerous animals, the elephants, crocodiles, hippos, buffaloes, lions, hyenas , all kind of birds.
The life was mainly lived in chiefdoms and this has been mostly preserved in areas like Chunga, which still have a lot of chiefs concentration in the district if not the country.
Because of the change in their way of life after the Ba Tonga moved off the valley, they were seen and known to be poor and underdeveloped.
The district is way- way underdeveloped, for a couple of reason. The Tonga are peaceful people who did not seek modernization very early. They let politics role everything.
They were also too busy trying to cope with the new life over the valley. They were always dealing with drought, and subsequently got used to food aid almost year after year.
This has been happening in other part of the country but it became a need for Binga as most parts of the district are perennial drought areas.
Gone was the times my BaTonga people used to supplement their food needs through hunting, modern government rules stopped house hold hunting. Zambezi swell after the Kariba dam was constructed and the animals felt more at home than the BaTonga. Alot of NGO infested Binga with a lot of good programmes. Among the most important NGO progammes is food relief which have found home in Binga.
I wish I could calculate how much money have so far been used on food relief in Binga. The largely poor Binga people have not been empowered with ways of kicking hunger out of Binga.
It’s very interesting the government of Zimbabwe is always talking of drawing water from Zambezi to Bulawayo, which is surely important. Binga itself need means to use the water to avert drought more than Bulawayo do, the water is ours.
A project has been started in Bulawayo Kraal part of Binga but unfortunately, it is purely driven by politics. We need yearly national election to see political driven project moving fast.
One wonders why doesn’t it come to the Financiers of food relief organization to think of empowering the people of Binga by gradually constructing dams and other water reservoirs , no doubt this would help reduce hunger and poverty at large.
My people are a sharing people and that means if A,have some food, he will not let his neighbor B, die of hunger. If organization like World Food Program were spearheading the projects like the construction of the dams and community irrigation, maybe 3 years project per ward they could be out of Binga now helping other people in other places, or at least the number of beneficiaries could be reduced significantly.
Binga have a huge permanent water source which can sustain serious irrigation. Give them the fishing rod and teach them how to fish. Drought in Binga has robbed us the BaTonga of our pride and dignity. Our children drop out of schools because they are hungry, some little girls as young as 17 get married in polygamy for a lot of reasons including poor food security.
Some go to work as maid and some boys to work as herd boys at very tender age because life in Binga has been Batonga from Binga so affected by poor food security. Being one of BaTonga myself, I have an idea of what could help us. We need help to sustain our own livelihood. Start it today and stop feeding us in 12 years… ignore me and feed us for the next 100 years.


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