The Permanrnt Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, Dr David Shamulenge is trying hard to keep a secret that has the potential to devastate the livestock industry in this country.
A few weeks ago, Shamulenge and a few officers in the Veterinary Department went to Mpongwe and destroyed over 500 animals (cattle) belonging to Zambeef.
It is not known whether, the outgoing Minister Chenda and his Deputies were made aware of this serious situation, though with a by-election next week they may have decided to turn a blind eye.
These 500 animals were dubiously imported from Tanzania under unclear circumstances without exhausting import protocols and were found to be infected with Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP). CBPP is a disease that is deadly (it kills) to cattle and until now was only found in the Western Province of Zambia. Shamulenge and another officer in the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, a Dr Yona Sinkala (who went to Tanzania and cleared the animals free of disease for import) were corrupt in allowing animals from Tanzania come into Zambia because it is well known that Tanzania has these deadly diseases such as CBPP and FMD (Foot and Mouth Disease). Zambia annually vaccinates its northern border with Tanzania because it is known that the disease is present there.
The veterinary department has over the years successfully kept CBPP only confined to Western Province by not allowing live animals move from that area to the rest of Zambia (only carcasses are allowed to butcheries). Now because of a few greedy individuals, the whole of Zambia is at risk of being infected by this disease. Areas that are promising in the livestock industry such as Mkushi and Mpongwe are now at risk because the disease is airborne and the germ that causes the disease is documented to travel several kilometers and still be infective. The 500 animals came by trucks and passed through Northern Province, Muchinga Province, Central Province and into Mpongwe in Copperbelt Province potentially infecting animals along that route. It is understood that once in Mpongwe, the animals were redistributed to other areas within the district. Hundreds of farmers and farmworkers livelihoods are now at risk because irresponsible officers who can’t handle their responsibilities.
Instead of carrying out corrective measures in case the disease has started spreading to other herds/areas, Shamulenge has opted to destroy the evidence and has threatened his officers to keep quiet or else. Some farmers in Mpongwe and Zambeef employees in that area are aware of this sad development – you cannot hide the importation and destruction of 500 cattle! Zambeef may secretly seek compensation from the government at a huge cost to the taxpayer. The people of Zambia need to know what their clueless PS of Agriculture and Livestock is doing.