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Mon, 01 May 2017 13:37 - Updated Mon, 01 May 2017 12:52

Moxico: Camanongue buries ruins, heads towards sustainable development

Camanongue - Five years after the country’s general elections of 2012, Camanongue municipality, in eastern Moxico province, has recorded remarkable gains now impacting on the socio-economic development process, burying the ruins of the past and heading towards sustainable development.

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By Eusébio Fonseca


Known as "Buçaco" in the colonial era, Camanongue was founded on 13 December, 1961, and in the recent past experienced difficult times arising from the internal armed conflict that had torn the country apart for three decades, but today it begins to gradually remove the debris of the war. The region, like other parts of the province directly or indirectly affected by the consequences of the armed conflict, has been transformed into an agricultural barn.

The Municipal Administration, despite the financial crisis that Angola is undergoing, has projected new directions for the Agriculture sector, which include providing working instruments for the 200 peasant families organised in cooperatives, to minimize hunger within the population, given its potential and fertile soils that encourage the locals to engage in large scale agricultural production.

Compared to previous years, now the reality is different, based on the implementation of several social projects established by the Moxico Provincial Government and assumed by the Municipal Administration with a view to more and more  improving the living of the locals and visitors.

 Education thrives with the training of young people, according to the local director of the sector, Henrique Salomão Pasta.

The official said the sector is healthy, as the activities go smoothly, as there no destruction of schools in the last five years, neither were there any interruptions of classes.


 


Satisfied with the peace that Angola is enjoying, the official compared this time with the era of colonization. "Before national independence, in 1975, there were eight schools with 16 classrooms in the district. In the 2008-2012 period, six more were built with 50 classrooms, while in the last four years, five new ones were built with 41 classrooms, totalling 107 definite classrooms and 90 provisional ones, absorbing 17,662 students from the beginning to the second cycle of the secondary education, "he said. '

Henrique Pasta also stated that the municipality has 368 teachers who secure the functioning of schools and leave the region without students outside the normal system of education .

He recalled that three years ago, the students of the second cycle of the secondary education stopped going to Luena, capital of the province of Moxico, to continue their studies, due to the existence of a school with 14 classrooms, equipped with laboratories for biology, chemistry and physics, which secures the training of new high school graduates in the region.

Health sector to gain a reference hospital

The municipal director of Health in Moxico, Manuel Mupila, revealed that the area will have, in the coming times, a municipal hospital of reference for 70 beds. "The works are slightly behind schedule and when complete, the hospital will significantly improve the medical services for the local population and relieve the existing centre that has been there  since 2008," he said.


Manuel Mupila also explained that at present the population is assisted through a health center with 23 beds, in addition to 10 health posts spread throughout the neighborhoods and towns, whose services are provided by five general practitioners, assisted by 24 nurses.

The official regretted the fact that human resources are still scarce, adding that efforts have been made to humanize the hospital's services, mainly in rural areas, where medical services are almost nonexistent. He pointed out that in the period from 2008 to 2012 the municipality of Camanongue had only one temporary health center with two beds and two health technicians without the assistance of specialized doctors.

Tchihumbwé dam brings energy solutions

As for the electricity supply, according to the Head of Section of Energy and Water, José Brito, the situation will be resolved soon, after the construction of the substation of transformation of energy for the hydroelectric exploitation of the Tchihumbwé, built in the locality of Dala, northeastern Lunda Sul province and inaugurated on 5 April this year.


Drinking water, according to José Brito, benefits more than eight thousand citizens residing in the municipal headquarters and in the neighbouring districts, thanks to the existence of six systems of extraction, treatment and distribution.

Agriculture, Commerce and Circulation

In the field of Agriculture and Trade, Camanongue Municipal Administration has a subsistence economy, based on agriculture, which is a fundamental activity of the population, as well as timber, which is one of the economic potential with which once well explored, the region could meet the main needs of the local population.

In the municipality, trade is exercised by small street vendors who will get their activity improved in the coming days, with the inauguration of the second counter of the Savings and Credit Bank (BPC), which provides support through credit to stimulate business .

The commercial network is still exercised in a poor manner, as there are 12 small shops, whose small merchants call for bank loans, in order to contribute to the development of the activity in the municipality.

At the moment, the financial movement is carried out through the only counter of the BPC, which may be aided by the opening, soon, of another counter whose works are in a completion phase.

Eduardo Garcia Manuel, a 19-year-old soft drink vendor, says that if he were helped with bank loans, he might be able to increase the business and employ more youths in his outlet. Road circulation in the district was facilitated by the rehabilitation and expansion of the  National Road 180, linking the city of Luena to the locality (Camanongue) and to the provinces of Lunda Sul, Lunda Norte and Luanda, across the provinces of Malange and Cuanza Norte.

The stretch also allows farmers to transport goods from Luena city, thus increasing the prospects for the emergence of new commercial establishments and other services in the municipal headquarters, which would contribute to the improvement of the living of the 32,000 inhabitants.

Agriculture ensures food security for families

The Camanongue municipal administrator, Zaqueu Isaac, advised peasants organized in agricultural associations and cooperatives to diversify their crops in order to increase the supply of food to the population. The official said that some of the peasants only produce cassava and corn, neglecting other crops such as peanuts, yams, beans, potato and  sweet potato, as well as vegetables and citrus fruits.


To him,  rural folks must abandon subsistence farming to allow them to create surpluses in the relevant markets for higher incomes. He assured that the municipal administration will continue to support the peasants with seeds and instruments of work, within the framework of the local program to combat hunger and reduce poverty. "We have targeted local farmers so that they stop producing only for family support, they must also diversify the products and expand the farmland so that there are larger food surpluses," he advised.

The municipality of Camanongue controls one thousand peasant families in 10 agricultural associations, two cooperatives and 52 small producers who intend to harvest more than 30 tons of maize and cassava in the 2017/2018 agricultural season. At the same time, the municipality counts on one of the largest agro-industrial projects in the province, known as "Camaiangala", with 18 hectares of land, which has been produced experimentally for three years, starting in November 2016 with the planting of 200 hectares of soybean and 800 of corn.


Social sector and housing

The social sector, as a driving force behind the development of any region, has significantly evolved with the construction, rehabilitation and equipping of various social impact infrastructures, such as schools, hospitals, health centers and clinics, police stations, houses for staff and others. The municipal director of Former Combatants and Veterans of the Motherland, José António, stated that the sector serves 1,145 former guerrillas and 300 vulnerable people who benefit from food and labor instruments for subsistence farming. José António acknowledged that there were former combatants who sacrificed their lives for the attainment of independence and effective peace, but who did not benefit from State reform, requesting them to present military evidence for their integration into the financial system.

The director of the Territorial Planning, Urbanism and Environment of Camanongue, João Basílio, informed that the region has 100 houses under the subprogram of construction of 200 houses, of which sixty (60) are already occupied .

The dream of own house by members of the population

 In this phase of crisis the country is going through, he explained, the social undertakings like schools, drinking water systems and health units are in the pipeline. As soon as the financial slowdown ends, the Municipal Administration will develop such actions to meet the basic needs of the inhabitants.

As part of the self-construction programme being implemented by the Government since 2010, João Basílio said that last year, 104 plots of land were distributed to local youth to stimulate the dream of home ownership under the National Development Plan (PND). Young people wish for a promising future. The youth of Camanongue recognize the social and economic development that the region has gained in the last four years and intend to contribute to the consolidation of the program of the provision of basic social services to the population, in the light of the local program to combat poverty. The local head for the Youth Council, Octávio Camuenhi Chissanhino, stated that, during the electoral process, he intends to mobilize the young members of this organization and others to participate in an orderly and patriotic way in the process of consolidation of democracy and unity among Angolans.

The official acknowledged that there is political tolerance and development in the most varied segments of life at the municipality level, as well as rights of opinion among citizens and freedom of movement for Angolans. Octávio also said that the Youth Council, represented in the municipality since 2015 with more than 50 members, sensitizes young people to engage in activities aimed at rebuilding the locality for a brilliant future.

Young peasant Nelson Tchipita, 24, has revealed that he intends to expand his production where he has been working since 2013, cultivating cassava and corn to secure the family's livelihood and contribute to the diversification of the country’s  economy.

"I do not have a job in the State institutions, so I develop activities in the countryside to ensure, above all, the training and support of my two children," said Nelson, acknowledging the Government's concern for the social well-being of the rural populations .

Isaías Romeu Tchiliata, 24, who is also a peasant, confirms Nelson's opinion, saying that agriculture has guaranteed the family's food supply, given the country's current financial slowdown. To him, the best way to minimize the financial crisis among the population is for the State to continue to encourage farmers by supporting them with labor instruments and seeds to increase production and flow their products into the largest consumption centers.

Elisa Carla, 18, a student at a secondary school, emphasized the local administration's commitment to creating acceptable conditions in schools.

"It is necessary to continue to have a greater interest on the part of the Government to invest in the Education sector, by increasing the number of classrooms and teachers, especially in rural areas, since it is one of the areas that most lack these services," he added.


In his turn, primary school teacher Eurico Kossengue,  spoke of the need for the Government to implement the teaching of vernacular languages, to better preserve the culture and habits that characterize the Bantu people.

The teacher considered that the implementation of the Education Reform program in 2008 has increasingly improved the curriculum system, thus contributing to the considerable reduction of children outside the normal educational system.

"We were working with the current (limited) education, we are now working on the (generalized) Education Reform and we think we are doing well in terms of excellence in the education sector," he argued.

Politicians differ in opinions

"The (ruling) MPLA party remains firm and mature in view of the various political, economic, social and cultural challenges it has overcome," said its first municipal secretary in Camanongue (Moxico), Zaqueu Isaac.

The party explained that since its foundation on 10 December 1961, the party has never ceased, it is always stood firm and prepared to win any electoral battle, as a result of the dynamics and commitment of its staff at all levels.


He recalled that, with the ending of the electoral registration on 31 March this year, the attention is now turned to the polls. The militants, sympathizers and friends of the ruling party are convinced of the challenges of the country, which include winning the elections of August this year.

The politician told Angolans to remain calm in the period of deceleration that the country is going through. He also explained that "it is not the MPLA that caused the financial crisis, but rather a global situation that resulted from the fall in the price of the oil barrel in the international market." '

To him, the unity among the people in the production of necessary goods will contribute to lessen the financial crisis, rejecting the attitude of some political leaders who make contradictory speeches about the development of Angola, with a view to deceiving and obfuscating what has already been done.

In his turn, the second municipal secretary of the second major Angolan political party, Joaquim Afonso Sagudja, admitted that his organization is in good health and intends, if it wins the 2017 election, to make structuring changes to the municipality, which includes improving and increasing the quality of existing public services. The political leader asked the organs to organize the electoral process to hold fair and transparent elections, in order to strengthen the process of consolidation of peace, unity and democratization of the country.

  
 On the process of diversification of the national economy, Joaquim Afonso advocated the need for the Executive to reinforce the support for peasants organized in cooperatives and agricultural associations, so that they can increase productivity.
 He praised the Government’s commitment to improving the quality of life of Angolans, but demanded that more be done in the construction of new schools, health units, potable water systems, housing and facelift of the roads, to facilitate peasants to flow their products from the countryside to the city.
  
 The politician who would not mention the number of UNITA-controlled militants in Camanongue, assured that the leadership of his party will continue to intensify the mobilization in all neighborhoods of new members for their ranks in order to strengthen the social basis, in view of the challenges ahead.
  
 In the municipality of Camanongue, there are four political parties with seats in the National Assembly, namely MPLA, UNITA, CASA-CE and PRS.
  
 Vision of the local top traditional authority
 The region’s chieftain, Ernesto Caxito, 64, said: "Those who knew Camanongue since five years now are faced with a region that has progressed in almost every way. There are infrastructures that are changing the image and improving life of all ".


Regarding the past elections, the traditional leader considered that they had been carried out in a troubled moment, with the exception of those of 2008 and 2012, but today the reality is different, because the country is in effective peace despite the financial slowdown.

Ernesto Caxito promised to mobilize the population to participate in the election of those who will lead the country in the next five years, who are committed to contributing to the stabilization and consolidation of social projects for the population.

He called on political parties to make orderly campaigning and avoiding messages that distract the attention of the electorate, as well as those that incite the insecurity. He said that the municipality has more than 300 chieftains.

The role of the church in the process of consolidating democracy

The priest of the parish of Our Lady of Santa Ana in Camanongue, Felisberto Vidal da Costa Manecas, stated that the church will never be outside, will continue to play a pivotal role in mobilizing its faithful in particular, and the general population, to actively participate in ensuring social welfare.

 He assured that the Catholic Church, in addition to propagating the word of God, continues to excel in the reconciliation of families in general and of the faithful, in particular, thus promoting the recovery of moral and cultural values, as well as transmitting to the communities the value of forgiveness.
  
 He appealed to the heads of families and youth to join the churches with the intention of acquiring the basic teachings of the Bible as a responsible deed to strengthen family ties and contribute to a healthy and happy society.
 The pastor of the Good God Church in the municipality, Óscar Sapalo, expressed his satisfaction with the massive involvement of the faithful of his congregation in the process of electoral registration, advising them to vote in August.
 The sector of Culture in Camanongue controls several recognized churches, namely Catholic, Good God, Evangelical Brothers in Angola (IEIA), Our Lord Jesus Christ in the World (Tocoist), New Apostolic, Evangelical Synod in Angola, Apostolic Mission of Christians in Angola (MACA), Seventh Day and Pentecostal.
 It is inhabited mostly by the people of the Cokwe ethnic group. Camanongue is located along the National Highway 180 and is bordered to the east by the municipality of Cameia, North by Dala (Lunda Sul), West by Moxico headquarters, with a population of 32,766 inhabitants, over an area of 2, 908 square kilometers.

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