CHRISTINE CHISHA, Lusaka
HIS passion to see Bwana Mkubwa transformed into a vibrant constituency made member of Parliament Jonas Chanda give up his medical career.
Dr Chanda, a physician has 18 years of experience, leading large scale, complex multi-donor funded public health programmes in Zambia, Botswana, Swaziland, Nigeria and Rwanda.
In 2005, Dr Chanda joined politics while he was working in Botswana and served as Patriotic Front (PF) organiser, raising financial resources for the party.
In 2007, he was appointed by late President Sata as PF chairman finance for overseas branches and was tasked to raise funds for the party at national, district and provincial levels.
While he was serving in all these capacities, his dream was to be MP for Bwana Mkubwa because he was born and bred there and he felt obliged to contribute to its social and economic development.
In 2011, he applied to stand as MP but was not adopted. Dr Chanda was not discouraged and continued working for the party till he was adopted in the last election.
The MP says issues of water and sanitation, health, education and township roads are his priority as he tackles other challenges in his constituency.
â€œMy constituency is home to almost the entire industrial area in Ndola district. As you know, Bwana Mkubwa is a Swahili word meaning â€˜big bossâ€™. In my case, the big bosses are the people of Bwana Mkubwa and I will serve them to the best of my ability,â€ he said.
Dr Chanda said despite Bwana Mkubwa being home to industries, most of them collapsed in the 1990s, leading to mass unemployment and suffering among the residents after they lost their jobs.
He, however, said the people of Bwana Mkubwa constituency are hopeful that the PF governmentâ€™s industrialisation policy will revive the manufacturing sector.
â€œWe aim to see the goods manufactured in Zambia with the label â€˜proudly made in Zambiaâ€™ dominate our retail shops. We can also export some of the products,â€ he said.
The MP said Bwana Mkubwa is the least developed of the four constituencies in Ndola district. Topping the list is the poor road infrastructure and drainage.
The only road out of the seven wards that is tarred is in Itawa ward and three tarmac roads have been constructed in Mushili.
Dr Chanda is concerned about the economically important roads such as Chiwala Road which Dangote Cement, Larfage Cement, Zambezi Portland Cement and Ndola Lime use. It is in a state of disrepair.
He said the road to Kantolomba cemetery has remained untarred since the cemetery was opened in the 1970s, and the mournersâ€™ shelters are continually vandalised.
Dr Chanda said recurrent flooding in the constituency during the rainy season is due to the absence of drainages.
Some muddy houses collapsed in Kaloko and Dr Chanda said he will engage Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit to help.
With a population of over 100,000, the constituency lacks a basic public health centre with maternity services. In the two biggest wards, Mushili and Itawa, the only clinics lack maternity services.
â€œIt hurts me as a medical doctor to see pregnant women walk long distances even at night to give birth at Masala and Lubuto clinics in Kabushi constituency,â€ he said.
Dr Chanda, however, said he was happy that Government has started the construction of a health centre in Mushili township.
The MP is also chairperson of the parliamentary committee on health, community development and social services.
In the education sector, Dr Chanda said he will lobby Ministry of General Education to construct new schools and upgrade basic schools to secondary schools.
There is no secondary school in Mushili township.
â€œI started secondary school thirty years ago. There was no secondary school in Mushili. I had to trek long distances daily and many of my friends quit schoolâ€.
Dr Chanda said the situation is still the same today. The only government secondary school in the entire constituency is an upgraded basic school in Ndeke.
WATER AND SANITATION
Dr Chanda said water and sanitation is a huge challenge in Bwana Mkubwa constituency. â€œWe have leaking pipes and frequent water shortagesâ€
The MP hopes to engage Kafubu Water and Sewerage Company and the newly-created Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Environmental protection to address this critical challenge.
He said the constituency has illegal settlements, some of which have existed since or before independence.
â€It is time Government looked at the plight of people, legalise and redesign some of the settlementsâ€, he says.
Since being elected MP, Dr Chanda has engaged Government on a number of projects such as the construction of a modern hospital, tarring of roads in Mushili/Ndeke under C400 road project and the construction of a modern secondary school
Dr Chanda a devoted Christian is married to Sophie and the couple has a child Tasha. He said his late father Pascal Chanda was his hero and mentor and owns his successful career to his mother who cares and prays for him daily.
He said the developmental challenges in Bwana Mkubwa constituency are daunting and itâ€™s easy to feel hopeless but he believes,â€ we do not shrink from challenges – instead we embrace and solve themâ€.
CHRISTINE CHISHA, Lusaka