By Jasper Maposa
Villagers in Murerezi, Mberengwa are desperately working together to save their livestock from perishing in Murerezi Dam with 52 cows having being trapped to date and 12 dying .
54 Village heads converged for an emergency meeting with their secretaries under the auspices of the Ward Development Committee to deliberate of the plight of villagers who are constantly rescuing their livestock at the dam. There are two main dams serving livestock in Murerezi area namely Mponjani and Murerezi but the latter has dried up becoming a death trap to animals seeking the little water left.
Murerezi area has not received any meaningful rains for the past two years exposing livestock and human beings to the vagaries of climate change. The dam has accumulated a lot of mud and the Ward Development Committee has resolved to undertake a desiltation program and alleviate the danger to both human life and livestock.
Founding Chairperson of Murerezi Development Trust, Dr Leonard Maposa who is a veterinary practitioner has implored villagers and stakeholders to take climate change seriously and work together.
“We are working with all stakeholders including the Rural District Council to facilitate the desiltation program of Murerezi dam which serves a huge catchment area that stretches to Nhenga. We had two successive years of poor rainfall hence the water levels fell drastically posing danger to livestock and human beings.
“Apart from desilting, it would be ideal for us to embark of conversation works which include building sand traps and mitigate siltation which has led us to the current dire situation . Our people need to be encouraged to desist from stream bank cultivation which is largely responsible for the massive accumulation of mud in the dam. In other words, human action precipitates such adverse developments like siltation among others.
“The situation is been compounded by the general lack of good pastures thereby compromising the nutrition status of our livestock. The malnourished cattle get stuck and are weak to extricate themselves”, he said.
Murerezi Ward 5 Councilor Chenjerai Maiswa indicated that the depletion of the water body is a major blow to the villagers who are frantically working towards desilation of the dam.
“Murerezi dam has been the main source of economic activity in our area to the extent that all business premises here were constructed using this dam. It is a major source of livelihood as it provides water to both humans and animals. Our wealth is in our livestock and watching our cattle perishing like this is so disturbing. There is a general reversal of progress because of the drying up of Murerezi Dam. It is very encouraging to work with villagers who contribute towards their own development cognisant of the fact that it is not the sole responsibility of government, but we have to play our part to complement government efforts, “ added Clr Maisva.
Efforts to get a comment from Nyembesi Togara the Mberengwa Council Chairperson proved fruitless as her phone was not reachable by the time of publishing.
Villagers in Murerezi indicated that the dam is a source of water for gardening, livestock , household chores, construction and even nutrition value through the provision of fish hence the situation has adversely affected the area.
We have established that community members take turns to rescue cattle in the dam . It is during the night that cattle succumb to the mud as people would have retired to their homes. Fundraising efforts towards the hiring of equipment for desiltation are underway with proposals having been mulled to levy each household a dollar.
Murerezi Community Development Trust is working with government departments in the area and appeals for donations in cash or kind towards rehabilitation of the Dam.