Columnists Features

An equal among elders

COMMISSIONER Wilfred Chilufya (right) with Dr Mulenga Bwalya and Maureen Tresha during public hearings

SUNDAY PROFILE with CATHERINE MUMBA, Kasama
ONE of the most worrying outcomes of the August 11 generations last year was the very visible regional voting as well as the political violence that characterised the run-up to polling day, which forced even the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to suspend campaigns in certain areas.

With that, President Lungu announced intentions, at his inauguration of a commission of Inquiry to look into the regional patterns of voting as well as the political violence.

He did just that in October last year, and the 15-member commission of inquiry has been going about its task of probing the political violence and the voting patterns.
The commission is made up of Justice Munalula Lisimba (chairperson); Marvis Kasongo Chisanga (vice-Chairperson); Nzovwa Mwela Chomba (secretary) and Mike Mulabe (deputy-Secretary). Other members are Lastone Lupupa, Charles Kafunda, Lee Habasonda, Reuben Lifuka, Dr Mulenga Bwalya, Maureen Samulela Tresha, Professor Owen Sichone, Redson Nyanga, Flora K. Mooya and Senior Chief Ntambo.
But one name is missing. Yes, that of Wilfred Chilufya.
At 26 years old, Wilfred is the youngest member of the commission.
“I ride on people like Justice Lombe Chibesakunda [former Chief Justice and Zambia’s first female lawyer] and the [other] commissioners in terms of experience and they are shaping me into someone who can handle huge responsibilities,” Wilfred says.
“I will not take this appointment for granted because this commission will impact mostly the young people and I have a huge task of ensuring that they are well represented and their views are heard so that they are included in the report to be presented to President Lungu.”
But make no mistake, he comes with huge experience in his own right.
Wilfred serves as national youth co-ordinator for Pillars of Peace Zambia where he is also the youngest member of the board chaired by Justice Chibesakunda. Before joining Pillars of Peace Zambia, he had graduated from the University of Zambia in 2015 and had started work as an ecologist at the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA).
He was offered a permanent job at ZAWA, when Pillars of Peace Zambia whose patron is First President Kenneth Kaunda, invited him to be the national youth coordinator on voluntary basis.
“I accepted to join because I really wanted to make an impact to humanity by bringing a change of mindset in young people. I had noticed there was too much dependency among young people on government to provide everything,” Wilfred says.
“Young people always wanted to do something to be paid and not to work for the benefit of the country. I did not care about the salary when I joined Pillars of Peace Zambia but rather driven by the zeal to see to it that youths benefit from my knowledge.”
Upon joining the organisation, the first step he undertook was to create peace chapters in higher learning institutions like the Copperbelt University (CBU) and UNZA.
The chapters involve themselves in charity work, cleaning of the environment and promotion of peace.
“I started with higher learning institutions because I noticed that they were highly-politicised and politicians were using them to propagate their agendas with unnecessary riots,” he says.
In his role as national youth co-ordinator, he has attended a number of trainings on conflict management and peace building in Rwanda.
“After learning about the genocide that happened in Rwanda and other countries in Africa, I told myself that I wouldn’t want such to happen to our beloved country Zambia,” he said.
“To create a peaceful Zambia, I thought I should change the mindset of students by making them understand the importance of peace and how it contributes to sustainable development. When you release information to the industry graduates who do not have the country at heart, it becomes difficult for them to work for the development of the country”.
He believes that a graduate must be someone whom the country should depend on to move it forward. Wilfred is concerned that young people would rather sit at home than involve themselves in voluntary work.
“You may think you are doing this thing for free not knowing that someone out there is watching and appreciating your effort as a young person,” he says.
“Like Justice Chibesakunda says, ‘the work of peace and humanity is not something that you have to do to get appreciation from a human being, but something that gives you inner peace knowing that you have impacted society’.”
He says his appointment to sit on the commission of inquiry into Voting Patterns and Electoral Violence came as a surprise as he was not expecting to be given such a huge responsibility of representing the many youths in the country.
Wilfred, who also plans to do a masters degree in either project management or conflict resolution and management, was born on June 6, 1991 in Chinsali district, Muchinga Province.
He did his first four grades at Kampemba Primary School in Chinsali district, but later moved in with his uncle to continue with his schooling at Chikonkomene Primary School in Kafue Gorge.
“After writing my grade seven examination, I moved to Namalundu High School where I did my secondary school education until 2009 when I completed Grade 12,” he says.
While in school, he served as president for the Junior Engineers, Technicians and Scientist (JETS) club as well as being a school prefect.
“After my Grade 12 results were out, I applied at the University of Zambia under the school of natural sciences, and the Copperbelt University for chemical engineering. I was accepted at both institutions,” he says.
He was first accepted at CBU but could not start his tertiary education there because of not having sponsorship as he had received his acceptance letter late and could not apply for bursary.
So, he started pursuing biological sciences at UNZA in 2011 on a one percent government sponsorship.
During his course of study, he helped Munali member of Parliament Nkandu Luo on a number of programmes such as identifying underprivileged students who were not on bursary.
“That time, she [Professor Luo] was Minister of gender, I identified 12 orphaned female students who did not have sponsorship. I gathered my courage and went to her office with letters of the students and credentials from the social welfare, I explained to her the situation and she took up the mantle of sponsoring them as well as providing accommodation,” he says.
“She started believing in me because I went to her to ask for things not for my personal gain but for others. She could give me projects and I could deliver accordingly, which has made her become so open and free with me.”
But away from promoting peace and helping in changing the mindsets of young people, his greatest desire is to in the future be a big time fish farmer as well venture into animal and soya bean farming.

 

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