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Bwacha attracts 4 parley hopefuls

BWACHA is one of the two constituencies that make up Kabwe, the administration centre of Central Province.
Kabwe Central is the other constituency and in terms of development, it is better off than Bwacha Constituency.
With 15 wards, Bwacha Constituency has 83,721 inhabitants; 41,357 male and 42,364 female, according to the 2010 census of population and housing.
Bwacha is almost twice the size of Kabwe Central, and it is this factor that presents challenges in terms of development and effective representation.
For decades, Bwacha has depended on Kabwe Central Constituency, which hosts the district and provincial administrations, government departments, civic centre, the High Court and the central business district.
A scan through Bwacha reveals that the constituency lacks infrastructure and lags development.
Unemployment and poverty also haunt the constituency and impact negatively on the well-being of the people in the area.
Much as Mukuyu and Makululu roads, which are among those that link the constituency to Kabwe Central have been tarred, the road network in Bwacha is generally in bad condition.
People in unplanned settlements and areas in the peripheries of the constituency are experiencing challenges in accessing clean drinking water.
As a result, places like Makululu – the biggest unplanned settlement in Kabwe – sometimes experiences outbreaks of cholera.
Despite Government making strides in addressing the challenges experienced in the provision of health and education services, there is still need for more health and education facilities in peri-urban settlements.
The well-being of people in Bwacha Constituency hinges on having better and effective representation.
This year’s general elections have, therefore, offered the electorate an opportunity to elect a member of Parliament (MP) and councillors who can deliver to their expectations.
Until the dissolution of Parliament this year, Sydney Mushanga was the MP for Bwacha.
Mr Mushanga became MP after contesting the 2011 general elections, in which he beat eight contestants after amassing 9,181 votes against his closest opponent Godfrey Pende of the MMD, who got 6,561 votes. Rogers Ziba of the United Party for National Development (UPND) polled 1,477 votes.
Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD)’s Innocent Chanda got 159 votes, Alliance for Democracy and Development (ADD)’s Fredrick Mulando had 115 ballots while Dorothy Katongo of the Zambians Empowerment for Development managed 132 votes.
The others were Beck Banda and Webster Chileshe, who stood as independent candidates and each polled 744 and 559 votes, respectively.
Mr Pende, a businessman, is now contesting the position of Kabwe executive mayor on the FDD ticket.
After the change of government in 1991, Bwacha was a stronghold of the MMD but this scenario ended in 2011 when Mr Mushanga was elected MP under the PF to succeed Gladys Nyirongo.
Reverend Nyirongo was Bwacha MP from 2001 to 2011 (on Heritage Party/MMD) with Richard Banda (UNIP) having served from 1973 to 1991, Wendy Sinkala (MMD) from 1991 to 1996, and John Chisanga (MMD) from 1996 to 2001.
Ahead of the August 11 general elections, four candidates are busy campaigning in Bwacha seeking to represent the people from 2016 to 2021.
Mr Mushanga has been adopted for the second time by the PF to re-contest the seat.
The UPND has adopted Saidi Chibwana, FDD has Webster Chileshe while the MMD has sponsored Boniface Chimoto.
For Mr Mushanga, 39, an information technologist, the PF’s campaign slogan ‘Sonta epo wabomba’ resonates well with his message.
Mr Mushanga says the PF and himself are able to point at what they have done in Bwacha in the last five years.
The ongoing construction of Makululu Day Secondary School, tarring of Mukuyu Road, installation of street lights on Mukuyu Road and the electrification of Ching’omba Basic School are among the projects he can proudly cite as some of the examples of what the PF government has done and will continue doing in the constituency if he is re-elected.
He says apart from upgrading primary schools into secondary schools, provision of desks and learning materials, Government is constructing eight health posts in the area.
“With the different projects that are going on in the constituency, it shows that we have a foundation as PF. We have shown our ability to work and be servants of the people,” Mr Mushanga says.
A tested representative, he says if re-elected, one of his priorities will be tarring of roads and construction of water kiosks for people to easily access clean drinking water.
Mr Chibwana first contested the seat on the PF ticket in 2001 but he lost to Rev Nyirongo who was then sponsored by Heritage Party.
Mr Chibwana, 45, who also served as Kabwe deputy mayor from 2008 to 2009, believes he will be elected Bwacha legislator on the UPND ticket this time around.
According to him, he has lived in Kabwe for over 30 years and is not happy that Bwacha is undeveloped and has allegedly lacked effective representation.
“I have seen the different challenges that people are facing and I believe I am the right candidate who can ensure that the cries of the people are heard,” points out Mr Chibwana, a businessman and UPND Bwacha Constituency vice-chairperson.
He has pledged to address the problem of intermittent water supply, build modern markets and youth skills training centres in the constituency if he becomes MP.
Now that he is sponsored by the FDD, Mr Chileshe is confident that he will win the Bwacha parliamentary seat.
Mr Chileshe, 41, is promising to tackle the challenges of bad roads, water supply, poor sanitation and unemployment among the youth in the area.
“Many youths have resorted to beer drinking and prostitution. This saddens me and I want to help the youth in the constituency,” he says.
Mr Chileshe, a businessman, is upbeat about victory and is geared to effectively represent the people of Bwacha.
Mr Chimoto, 59, an educationist who has worked for 31 years in the Ministry of General Education, has pledged to improve water supply and sanitation, rehabilitate roads, health centres and upgrade community schools in the constituency.
“If elected, my priorities will be to help the youth by reviving skills training centres, ensure that CDF (Constituency Development Fund) is equitably distributed in the constituency,” he says.
Mr Chimoto, who served as Justin Kabwe ward councillor from 1998 to 2003, says the people of Bwacha need a wise and mature person to effectively represent them.
He has promised to work in consultation with the people in the constituency because he believes it is the people who know what can be done to improve their living standards.