Senators urge Chiefs to safeguard sacred areas for climate change mitigation

Several senators have called upon traditional leaders, particularly chiefs, to uphold cultural practices and safeguard sacred areas, such as pools and rivers, as a strategy to mitigate climate change impacts.

This appeal was made during Tuesday’s Senate session in response to Beitbridge Senator Tambudzani Mohadi’s presentation on climate-smart agriculture.

Emphasising the importance of preserving these sacred areas, Mashonaland East Senator Tapfumanei Muzoda urged chiefs to assert their authority and make sure these sites were protected instead of neglecting them.

Muzoda also stressed that many of these locations hold significance in traditional rituals for rainfall, underscoring the necessity of their preservation.

“Let us not go into sacred pools and rivers and start baptising people. Indeed, we do not forbid praying or good things because traditionally, we know there is the most-high, who is God as the Creator, the one who will provide rainfall the very day of the rain making ceremony,” said the senator.

Muzoda stated traditional traditions contribute to peace and environmental harmony, while also advocating for a cohesive approach to agriculture, efficient land use, and commercial farming practices.  

“Agriculture needs unity and proffering solutions as a united front, so that those who have power can make sure that the land is being utilised adequately. Let us also know that if we bought land or a farm, we did not do it to only produce food for a household,” he said.

“Commercial land must be considered as intentions for venturing into business, farming is business. Our agriculture is not all about utilising land along the highway so that people may see that you have tobacco. We are talking of production that is supposed to benefit the nation.”

Senator Jane Chitsamba of Manicaland addressed the broader consequences of climate change, emphasising its disproportionate impact on women.

She called on the government to intervene to address women’s concerns, such as improved social welfare support, access to alternate energy sources, and climate resilience education.

“It has led to unpaid care work, it has led to dry dams, no more firewood and crops are not growing well. Therefore, the Government should increase social welfare food and must sink deeper boreholes. Government must also provide solar powered boreholes and give women opportunities to work,” Chitsamba said.

“There must be a policy on protection of trees and the government must come up with a policy of giving alternative sources of energy for cooking, such as LP or biogas. There is too much heat now that leads to a lot of diseases. Women must be taught about the effects of heatwaves. If you teach a woman, you have taught or assisted the whole community.”

Echoing these sentiments, Senator Chief Fortune Charumbira stressed the urgency of addressing climate change’s far-reaching consequences, particularly its impact on food production and livelihoods.

“This issue must not only be debated and end here. We must come up with a way forward as well as recommendations. If it means having another opportunity outside Parliament where we can invite experts, we meet and proceed because the people that are at the grassroots are the ones who are being affected by this issue,” he said.

“The heat we are experiencing right now, we have not felt it before. We have not experienced such heat before. What does this mean? If this type of temperature keeps on increasing, we will end up hearing that someone has died here and there. I think that is where we are heading to. However, let us not get to that extent, that is why I am saying this motion should not just close without proffering solutions.”

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