By Dr. Sinazongwe
The article carried by the post newspaper on Friday 12/3/12 titled Sata refuses to join Tongas tribal fights. Quote “They want me to succumb to Tonga tribal fights because there is a super Tonga, a plateau Tonga and an inferior valley Tonga,” he said. I know that there are plateau and valley Tongas. I have not known that the valley Tongas were actually ‘inferior’, I find this statement provocative and insulting and not befitting the head of state who is supposed to preach ‘one Zambia one nation’.
We demand an apology. Valley Tongas are now called ‘inferior’ meanwhile all the governments that have come in have failed to bring meaningful development in the valley. They have had plans on paper but nothing has been done apart from seeing our poor brothers being slaughtered like chickens in the hands of the so called Chinese investors. I need to stress that the Valley Tongas had arable soils for farming and had a decent life from fishing and other resources but, the construction of the Kariba dam (1954-1959) by the Federal Government of Rhodesia and Nyasaland had both negatively and positively effect on the Zambezi Valley. More than 2/3rds of the Valley Tongas were actually forced to move out of their land. The World Bank and the Government Republic of Zambia promised to compensate the valley people by building infrastructure and putting up mechanisms that will mitigate immerse suffering of the people.
The question is how much of this has been done? Some of the things agreed upon, just to name a few were: The road network, development of the water resources, electrification of the areas, clinics and hospitals and Schools. Which part of the bottom road has been done, am not talking about the Munyumbwe – Chipepo road which is not tarred up to now but the Chipepo, Chiyabi, Malima, Masuku road.
Does it make sense to go through Choma from Maamba when going to Livingstone? How long has there been a talk on the construction of the roads. Now we are called ‘Inferior’ Valley Tonga because of selfish politicians who can’t fulfill their agreements. We demand for the restoration of the agreement which was made between the Government Republic of Zambia and the Tongas in the valley for the construction of the infrastructure.
How many of the bore holes have been sunk if I may ask and how many are remaining and where are they? People are still complaining of not having enough rain fall in this time and age and yet the lake is just a stone throw, no irrigation systems have been put in place to increase the food security of the people.
How many schools were built according to the agreement? Schools are still in their dilapidated state, there is nothing to talk about, and the classrooms are few, not painted with broken windows. The issue of health facilities is not worth mentioning, how many of the clinics were supposed to be built and how many have been built? Most of the clinics in the valley are in shambles, access to health facilities is pathetic. People have to track long distances to get to a so called health post. Now we are called’ inferior’. As Tongas from the valley we demand for the restoration of the agreement made by the World Bank and the Government Republic of Zambia on the compensation of the Valley Tongas infrastructure. I encourage the valley Tongas to read the agreement on Gwembe Valley Development Project and demand what belongs to them.