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Stop playing cheap politics with the hunger situation

It’s very sad that our leaders are playing cheap politics with the hunger situation in the country.

The Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit says contrary to the “noise” that comes from Southern Province about hunger, it is Western Province that’s most affected by climate shocks.

DMMU national coordinator Chanda Kabwe says it is just that “our friends in one province know how to make noise” on the hunger situation.

“The highest province that is affected by climate shocks is Western Province with 447,000 people. Southern Province is second, although our friends in one province know how to make noise. So when they talk it seems like it’s their province which is the most affected province. Contrary to the noise they make, it’s Western Province [that is most affected]. [In] Southern Province, 438,000 people are in need of food,” Kabwe reveals.

According to Kabwe in the northern part of the country, 393,000 people were in need of food. And 137,000 people needed food relief in Eastern Province while the lowest was Central Province with 97,000.

“The population that needs food is 2.3 million. What is the population of Zambia versus the population of those who are in need of food?” asks Kabwe.

They seem to be turning the whole issue into a simple game of numbers. But this is not a simple game of numbers. Each single human being, life, matters.

Moreover, there’s not significant difference between 447,000 hungry people in Western Province and 438,000 in Southern Province. A difference of 9 people should be turned into a big issue!

What is being forgotten or ignored is the fact that Zambia is the fourth hungriest country in Africa, or the world, after Chad, the Central African Republic and Madagascar. As it has been explained before, Chad and the Central African Republic are desserts or semi-desserts. And they are also countries with internal wars. Zambia is not a dessert – it has plenty water and relatively very good soils. And it enjoys peace.

Drought or no drought, this is the reality we need to confront. With or without drought, we have generalised hunger in this country. And this hunger goes far beyond the drought stricken areas. There’s hunger in the compounds of Lusaka and Kopala [Copperbelt] that is being ignored in the statistics being bandied around.

As Dr Fred M’membe recently told the Socialist Party congress, “The existence of large numbers of hungry and undernourished people in our country constitutes an affront to all of us. A stable, permanent solution must be found for this serious problem.”

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