Development Features

Agriculture keeping Monze Central alive

CONSTITUENCY WATCH with DOREEN NAWA, Monze
AN important question in the development debate regarding rural development has been the relationship between agriculture and the rural economy.
For the people in Monze central constituency, agriculture and rural economy are inseparable.
Just their dedication to agriculture makes one realise how the people of Monze central constituency value farming.
“Even if we are an ‘urban constituency, agriculture is what keeps us going. Not everyone here in Monze central constituency is in formal employment, most of the people here are farmers,” Teddy Lombe, a resident of Hamusonde township said.
True to Mr Lombe’s word, agriculture is the main economic venture for the inhabitants with over 20,000 cattle being kept by the farmers in the constituency.
But for Mr Lombe, the challenge this year has been the migration of the farmer input support programme (FISP) to the E-voucher system.
“Much as we want to go electronic, the challenge is that most people have been left out on this list.  I am one of the affected and several attempts have been made to the banks in Lusaka to have those affected included but to no avail,” he said.
The main crop grown is maize. Vegetable growing is on the increase in the area such that most people are engaging in the production of various crops chiefly among them are cabbage, rape, tomatoes, onion and eggplant growing.
Monze central constituency is situated on the southern side of Lusaka, about 200 kilometres from the capital city, and 100 kilometres from the provincial capital of Southern Province, Choma.
The constituency is in Monze town, home to the Lochinvar National Park. The national park is the world’s best renowned wildlife and bird paradise.
The constituency has eleven wards namely Monze urban, Manungu, Chisekesi, Ufwenuka, Chipembele, Mayaba, Hatontola, Hamavwa, Katimba, Hufwa-Hamapande and Bbombo
Monze central has two chiefdoms namely Chief Moonze and Ufwenuka.
Considering that some meaningful activities only take place along the Livingstone-Lusaka road, the population too is concentrated along this area.
The constituency has 68 schools (two secondary schools and 66 primary schools),
the constituency currently has two mission hospitals, Monze and Chikuni and has 10 health posts.
The constituency is linked to the rest of the country using the Lusaka–Livingstone road. The road is sometimes called the Livingstone road and is the main highway of the Southern Province from the capital, Lusaka, to the principal tourist destination, Livingstone.
Besides the Livingstone road, the constituency has feeder roads which have not been graded for a longtime according to the member of Parliament Jack Mwiimbu.
Mr Mwiimbu says the roads are supposed to be periodically maintained by the Rural Roads Unit but this has not been the case for years now.
“This is a farmer dominated area and one of the prerequisites to helping farmers access markets is better roads. Here in my constituency, the feeder roads are bad. We would like to appeal to government to consider grading the roads,” he said.
The constituency has no major industry; currently the area only has Mukuwa milling (a medium scale milling) which provides maize meal to locals at affordable prices and other milling by products.
The area has two bakeries, Mwapona and Mummys.
The constituency has its share of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), but just like several other rural constituencies, the CDF is not enough because of the numerous challenges the people of the constituency face.
“We are doing our best to ensure that each ward in the constituency gets a share of the CDF projects but the allocation is like a drop in the ocean. We have challenges regarding the poor road networks in the constituency, poor school and health infrastructure, and making an equal share of the funds amounts to nothing. As rural members of Parliament, we have brought this to the attention of the House and it is our hope that one day something will be done,” the area member of Parliament said.
From the 2014 CDF, a number of projects were approved in all the wards under the Monze District council to carry out periodical maintenance of all feeder roads in the constituency. A project to purchase 50 desk-top computers for 50 primary schools that do not have computers to facilitate the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) learning programme has been approved. Another approved project is the purchase of solar equipment for 42 schools to facilitate the use of computers.
For the school infrastructure projects under CDF, 11 schools have been approved for the completion of classroom blocks and staff housing. The primary schools are Chipembele, Namakube, Sintemba, Chiyobola, Sichiyanda, Simanansa, Namilongwe, Kabanga, Nalucha, Action Kabanana and Hamunyanga respectively.
The market infrastructure at Manungu and Hamusonde markets are underway, and under recreational facility, the Harry Mwaanga stadium will also have a face lift. The completion of the change room and the installation of the stadia front gate has been approved.
Under the 2013 CDF, several projects have been completed and among them is the completion of the ablution at Railside Bus Station.
The school infrastructure projects under the 2013 CDF that have been completed include the Chiyobola, Sintemba, Chipembele, Namakube, Simukale, Tusole, Namuseba, Kafwefwe, Chisila and Hamunyangwa primary schools.
Just like many other constituencies countrywide, Monze central constituency has water and sanitation challenges too.
To address this, the constituency and Monze district as a whole has received notable support from partners and organisations that promote and advocate better water and sanitation facilities.
“Drilling of boreholes and construction of classroom blocks and additional health infrastructure is underway in most wards,” Mr Mwiimbu said.
Boreholes have been drilled in all the 11 wards both under CDF funding and funding from co-operating partners such as UNICEF, World Vision International, and Water Aid among others.
And Monze District council secretary Tryson Chunga said the road network in Monze township area in the constituency has been worked on.
“The 15 kilometre township roads allocated to Monze township under the Pave Zambia road project have been completed. This project has added beauty to the town and the Monze central constituency,” he said.
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MONZE CENTRAL FACTS
Total Registered Voters: 41,749 (according to the 2015 Presidential elections)
Population: 108, 671 (2010 Central Statistical Office Statistics)
Wards: 11
Current MP: Jack Mwiimbu- UPND (2001-todate)

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