KNOW YOUR DISTRICT
BENEDICT TEMBO, Senanga
SENANGA council secretary Reagan Kalumba is amazed at the wealth of natural resources in the district.
Mr Kalumba, who has been in Senanga for just a year, is also puzzled by the glaring poverty levels in the district which passes for a promised land.
Senanga, centrally positioned in Western Province, has fertile soils to support agriculture, forests for harvesting timber, rivers for fishing and boating and wildlife to attract tourists.
But Mr Kalumba, who prior to being transferred to Senanga was in Chilubi, notes that while local people are willing to play their part, there is need for investors to complement their efforts through value addition of their raw products.
The district, created in 1965, is slowly springing to life â€“ thanks to infrastructure development which is catalysing economic activities.
Mr Kalumba says the tarring of the Sesheke-Mongu road has opened the district to investments.
He says the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) has been cooperative and has shown goodwill by giving up land for development.
The BREâ€™s decision to give land to the local authority will facilitate the extension of township boundaries as more plots have been created for residential and commercial property development.
Nasla, a company specialised in meat production, is setting up an abattoir while building a one-storey building in the central business district.
Kashuwa, another company, is putting up a milling plant while an unnamed investor has expressed interest in setting up the first shopping mall in the district.
Zanacoâ€™s monopoly as the sole bank in Senanga has ended following the arrival of Investrust Bank, which has opened an agency in the district.
Senanga shares its boundary with seven other districts. These are Kalabo to the north-west, Shangombo and Sioma to the west, Sesheke to the south, Kaoma to the east and Mongu and Nalolo to the north.
Kashuwa, Mazhandu and Shalom are the major players in the public transport sector ferrying people between Senanga and Livingstone via Sioma, Sesheke and Kazungula or to Lusaka via Mongu.
However, Zambiaâ€™s graduation to a middle-income country is showing in Senanga as people are no longer restricted to either mini or big buses as taxis shuttle either to Mongu or Sesheke via Sioma.
Senangaâ€™s climate is typical of the Central African plateau with three distinct seasons; the dry cool season with temperatures ranging between nine and 15 degrees Celsius (May-August), dry hot season with temperatures of 20-40 degrees Celsius (August – mid-November) and dry wet season (mid-November – April).
The hottest month in Senanga is October with an estimated temperature of 41 degrees Celsius while the coldest month is July with an average temperature of nine degrees Celsius.
Senanga receives rainfall between October and April. However, much of the rain falls between November and February.
The rivers in Senanga include the Zambezi, Wayama, Lui, Lueti, Kasizhi and Lumbe. The seasonal streams are Silwizi, Kakenge, Mata and Lwanso.
The rivers and streams in Senanga have high potential for fishing and are a source of water for household purposes.
Politically, the district has one constituency, namely Senanga Central. Nalolo, once a constituency under Senanga, has been plucked away and turned into a district and has continued to be a constituency.
Senanga has a number of ethnic groups. These include the Kwangwa tribe in the east (Lui, Mata and Kataba areas), the Totela along Lumbe river, the Lozi in the flood plains and its edges, and the Mbunda and Luvale in all corners of the district.
Being the first settlers in the district, the Kwangwa, Totela, Kwandi, Lozi and Subiya own majority of the land and prescribe on how their land should be utilised.
The Lozi people go to the upland when it is flooded and move to the lower plain when the floods subside.
The Mbunda, Luvale and Kangala are migrants. They move from place to place.
Residing on this 13,158 square kilometre landmass are 110,634 people. The population of the district is spread all over the flood plain, in the eastern and western velds of the flood plain along streams.
The fishery resources along the upper Zambezi wetlands form the basis of a fishing industry which employs about 26,000 fishermen.
The upper Zambezi and its tributaries, including the channels, forest lakes and the dambos, though on a small scale, are the main sources of fish, with fishing being one of the major economic activities in Senanga.
Due to its location from the main markets such as Lusaka and Livingstone, coupled with most traders not having proper refrigeration facilities, there is more dried fish sold in the district than the fresh one.
Water transport is common for people who live in the plains and the river banks. These people mostly use dugout canoes.
There are navigation canals connecting the upland to the Zambezi system in the district. The flooding of the Zambezi plains necessitated the development of waterways.
Senanga is endowed with rich water resources but lacks a developed waterways network to promote navigation within the district.
About 60 percent of Senanga is a forest area, with most of it gazetted whilst 40 percent is covered by grass and water.
Senanga is well wooded because the dominant soils are on Kalahari sands, which favour tree growth.
Timber, is one of the most important economic activities in Senanga.
Where tourism is concerned, Senangaâ€™s tourist attractions include the annual fishing competition, boat cruising, game viewing and fishing at Zambelozi Island Lodge, birding, fishing, falls viewing and night crocodile viewing.
The district is able to receive a minimum number of tourists of 5,000 per annum.
There are seven lodges in the district which include Mutemwa, Kabula, Zambelozi, Sakazima, Maziba Bay, Maningi Safaris, Kabumbu River Camp and Senanga Safaris.
The district also has 17 guest houses which include Mwapila, Mulike, Arongu, Zango, Sunset, River Side and Sea Frog.
Senanga has a variety of wildlife species like elephant, crocodile, the roan and sable antelope, leopard, red lechwe, duicker common, tsetsebe, sitatunga, kudu, eland, zebra, oribi and hyena.
Others are monkey velvet, spring hare, hare, wild dog, tortoise, turtle, water monitor, jackal, hippo, lion, giraffe, reedbuck, bush buck and a variety of bird species.
KNOW YOUR DISTRICT