Katima Mulilo — Community members of Ikaba in Kabbe South constituency have different opinions regarding the formation of a conservancy in the eastern flood-prone area. This comes after plans to establish a conservancy in the area are reportedly at an advanced stage.
However, the establishment of the conservancy has drawn mixed feelings, as some say not all of them were consulted. This has led to the formation of an objection group who are of the opinion that the formation of the conservancy has more disadvantages than advantages. Among others, the group is of the opinion that their grazing land will be affected, as the area is already faced with over-grazing after most the farmers from the upper land took their cattle to Ikaba following the devastating drought.
They also believe that the introduction of the conservancy will further increase the chances of their livestock contracting diseases, particularly foot-and-mouth disease. They further believe that other projects can rather be considered like green schemes and fodder and rice plantations.
Jerry Simasiku, a member of the group opposed to the mooted conservancy, said the idea to establish a conservancy is only being supported by the minority group.
"We have already observed that people with conservancies are already suffering, as human beings and wild animals cannot co-exist. People at Salambala conservancy are now being evicted from the land they were given before the conservancy came," said Simasiku.
This was in reference to about 1 200 villagers from Salambala conservancy who face eviction, after years of an ongoing dispute over an area reserved for wild animals. The planned eviction is despite the fact the residents of Salambala have been residing there from the late 60s and early 70s.
According to Simasiku, most of those who now face eviction were given land in Salambala area after they migrated from Ikaba due to yearly floods. "People are now being evicted from Salambala and they want to make Ikaba a conservancy so that they come and evict us in the long run, but where will we go, as there is no land anymore," said Simasiku.
This reporter understands that the objection group has made plans to approach the Ikaba sub-khuta to air their grievances, and failure to reach an amicable solution will see the group approaching the environment and tourism ministry.
Ikaba is the largest area in Kabbe South constituency and is an umbrella of various villages, among others Nankutwe, Muzii, Nantungu, Jimu, Jojo, Kasumba, Sigwe, Silubbabba, Ngulwa, Sitebule, Mukanwa, Limai, Kazuka, Masamu and Muyoyeta. Both Kabbe South where the conservancy is planned and Kabbe North have a combined population of about 14 979 people.
Efforts to get comment from the Ikaba sub-khuta were not successful as the mobile phone of the area induna Ben Likando went unanswered on several attempts, and he did not respond to the text message sent to his mobile phone.