Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock NOT of Least Importance

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Dear Diggers editor,

I am writing in response to editorial article titled, “Drop Luo, let Mabumba run Higher Education” which you published on 27th December 2018. In the last paragraph of the article you made a recommendation or rather stated that “but if for whatever debt she is owed, you would like Professor Luo to remain in your cabinet, it is better you take her to the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries.”

This statement implies that Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock is of least importance among all ministries, which I am afraid I have to disagree with. This is the second time I am hearing such a demeaning statement from the public over Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock. The first time was when Honourable Kampamba Mulenga Nkole was appointed as Minister of Fisheries and Livestock. The social media comments that followed her appointment made a sad reading. I read comments like, “chawama aleya mukusosole nkonko nokucheme ng’ombe ku Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock”. This means that the public views or perceives this strategic ministry to be of less importance to this country. I am ok with the public thinking like that, but what makes it worse is that even the Government seems to treat it likewise. Why do I say so?

The Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock is a very strategic ministry to national development especially with regards to successful implementation of the Seventh National Development Plan and Vision 2030. Think about the economic worth of the fisheries and livestock industry. Think about the fish and livestock products such as milk and meat that more than 90% of the Zambian population consume every day as the primary source of protein. Isn’t food the most important thing for us to remain alive? We are currently talking about diversifying the economy from mining to agriculture of which fisheries and livestock are key priority areas. Does the ministry deserve this public perception? Do you see why we don’t want to be a dumping ground for the perceived poor performing ministers as suggested by News Diggers article?

Like I said earlier, my biggest problem is not only public perception, but even for the Government to seemingly treat it likewise. Do you know that one of the core functions of the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock is to control fish and livestock disease, a function which is performed by the veterinarians? However, the Veterinary Council of Zambia, which is the regulator of the veterinary profession through the VETERINARY AND VETERINARY PARA-PROFESSIONS ACT OF 2010, has not been put in place for the last three and half years? This is probably due to the trivialisation the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock by both the public and Government. In short, the veterinary profession is not regulated by anyone since June 2015, which means that all veterinarians in this country are practising illegally (without practicing licences). Both the public and Government does not seem to be bothered about it. Would it be the same if this were Teachers Council of Zambia or Health Professions Council of Zambia? I, therefore, wish to appeal with the diggers editor, public and Government to change the perception that the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock is of least importance among all ministries. The Government must also treat this strategic ministry with the importance it deserves if we were to actualise the diversification agenda and the vision 2030.

Chisoni Mumba
A concerned member of the Veterinary Association of Zambia (VAZ) and Veterinary Council of Zambia (VCZ).

         

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