Samfya, February 3, 2015, ZANIS – A civic leader of the Batwa people of Kansenga island in Samfya district has appealed to the government to provide a dredger for clearing water channels and a reliable motorized boat for easy connection to the mainland.
Kapata Ward Councilor George Chingandu made the appeal recently in an interview with ZANIS during a tour of Kansenga Island, the home of the Batwa people.
He said there was need for behavioral change and mindset re-orientation for the Batwa people because they were used to relied food and had a negative attitude towards developmental initiatives and programmes in their area.
He said there was need to sensitize the Batwa people towards socialization so that they could be part of the national development process as majority of them did not have National Registration cards while only 119 out of a population of 1,200 people were registered voters .
Councilor Chingandu called on government to construct a road into the Musaba Plain from Kansanka National Park to open up the Batwa people to the mainland.
He said the road from Twingi to Samfya should also be worked on because it was the main road for transporting fish from the swamps to the Copperbelt.
He disclosed that Kansenga Primary school on the island was constructed in 1963 but the school has never produced a Grade 12 graduate due to early marriages and high levels of illiteracy in the area.
He paid tribute to the former and retired head teacher of the school Esther Shabashaba who intervened in the early marriages of two girls and ensured that the girls were taken back to school and their child marriages dissolved so that they could have a chance of a better life after being educated.
The Councilor said the Island was also in need of a police post because of the common assaults which were rife in area.
He also disclosed that there were no non-governmental organizations working in the area which has negatively contributed to lack of developmental activities.
He said his people needed youth and women clubs to raise their levels of participation in the developmental process and programmes.
Councilor Chingandu commended Government for introducing the social cash transfer programme in the area but observed that it needed to be scaled up in order to increase the number of beneficiaries.
He said Government should construct Twingi and Mileke Secondary Schools to give a chance to the children of the Batwa people at education as it was key to their inclusion in the mainstream national developmental programmes.
He disclosed that there were about 1,200 Batwa people on the island drawn from Kansenga, Masombwe, Mukulo, Mwelela and Yongolo while the Mboya lubambwe Batwas belong to Bwalya Mponda’s chiefdom on the island of Lunga district.
He added that the main preoccupation of the Batwa people was farming and fishing due to lack of other rewarding skills which could help them to improve their living standards and become economically viable.