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Chavuma: A fast developing district

ABOUT 607 kilometres west of Solwezi, the capital of North-Western Province, lies Chavuma, the furthest of the nine districts in the province.
Chavuma was declared a district in 1996 by the MMD government led by late former President Frederick Chiluba.
The district covers 7,347 square kilometres of land and shares an international boundary with Angola in the north-west and Zambezi district to the south-east.
The district lies between 914 and 1,218 metres above sea level.
Chavuma is divided into two parts by the Zambezi River with the biggest portion being on the western side, which is sparsely populated with undeveloped and hard-to-reach areas. Much of the area is flooded for almost half of the year, between January and May, while the east bank of the Zambezi River is more developed and highly populated as it hosts most of the government departments.
According to the Central Statistical Office 2010 census of population and housing, the district has 37,338 people with one constituency. Chavuma constituency has 13 wards.
The district has sub-tropical climate with temperatures ranging from 20 to 28 degrees Celsius in the cool-dry season while the maximum temperature in the hot-dry season is about 35 degrees Celsius.
Chavuma has a relatively moderate climate that is determined by the humid Congo Air mass and the Inter-tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) that brings rains from early November to mid-April.
The major activity that sustains the economy of Chavuma is small-scale farming with maize, cassava and rice being some of the crops grown by farmers.
The district receives an annual average rainfall of 1,000 millilitres.
Chavuma generally has flat lowland areas in the west bank and a plateau-like formation in the east bank.
Generally, the soils in the district are sandy with low base nutrients, high acidity, leached and have aluminium toxicity.
The district has potential for mineral extraction, especially for industrial minerals and semi-precious stones. However, explorations have not been done.
The vegetation of the district is characterised by open savannah grasslands, with some parts being covered with Livunda woodlands. The west bank is mainly covered with scattered savannah grasslands and dambos.
Chavuma has a number of rivers, streams, wetlands, springs and lagoons. The main perennial rivers are the Zambezi, Lungwevungu and Kashiji. All rivers and streams in the district drain into the Zambezi River.
According to Chavuma district commissioner Lawrence Kayumba, the district faces various socio-economic challenges which include HIV and AIDS.
Mr Kayumba said the district has in the recent past seen an increase in the number of infrastructure projects in the economic and social sectors such as education, health, housing and roads since the Patriotic Front assumed office in 2011.
In the education sector, Chavuma district has seven secondary schools, 36 primary schools and three private schools which provide educational services to the local people.
The government is also constructing Chavuma Boarding Secondary School at a cost of K27 million and the project is almost complete with over 95 percent works done.
Mr Kayumba said Government also has upgraded two primary schools into secondary schools, namely Nyantanda and Moses Luneta, to improve access to secondary education.
“Government has since released K900,000 for construction of additional classroom blocks and staff houses at the two schools and the project is nearing completion,” he said.
He said Government is constructing three classrooms at Kalombo Primary School using the 2013/2014 constituency development fund (CDF).
In the health sector, Chavuma has 10 health centres, one mission hospital and Government is constructing a district hospital at a cost of K22 million.
“In the construction of a district hospital, we have the first and second phases which have been completed, and now the project has entered the third phase and the total cost of this project is K22 million,” Mr Kayumba said.
In addition, nine health posts out of the 650 being built countrywide are under construction in Chavuma.
The health posts are being built at Kamisamba, Lingundu, Likhoma, Mandalo, Kakhoma, Sewe, Kambuya, Chikongolo and Chavuma Central.
Other projects being undertaken in the district include the construction of a maternity ward at Nguvu Rural Health Centre, a maternity annex at Nyantanda Rural Health Centre, a health post at Kalombo and staff houses at Chiingi clinic using the 2013/2014 CDF.
And to enhance the dispensation of justice in the district, government is constructing a local court at a cost of K1.4 million.
Government is also constructing a police station in the district at a cost of K1.3 million.
In the agriculture sector, the district has 9,000 livestock and Government is constructing seven dip tanks to help fight animal diseases in the area.
In the road sector, Government is rehabilitating 9.5 kilometres of township roads which President Lungu recently launched and works have commenced at a cost of K128.6 million.
“Tarring of five roads, that is the Mission road to Sewe junction, Zambezi River Authority road, district commissioner’s residence road, Chavuma Day Secondary School road, and Post Office to council guest house road, has started,” Mr Kayumba said.
He also said Government, through the Zambia National Service, has commenced gravelling of Nyakasumbi-Nguvu road for the first time since Zambia’s independence.
In the energy sector, Sino Hydro Company is constructing a mini-hydro power station at a cost of K516 million and the project will be undertaken within 24 months.
In the tourism sector, the district has potential tourism sites such as the Chisekese beach, Chavuma and Chambi falls as well as the Nyantanda game area which has a lot of wild animals where tourists can go for game viewing.
On housing, Government is building four high cost houses for council employees and the project is progressing well.
Government is also constructing markets at Lukolwe and Chiyeke using the 2013/2014 CDF.
Despite all these developments taking place in Chavuma, the district has no service station and this affects the speedy implementation of government programmes as fuel is sourced from Zambezi or bought on the black market from private business people.
However, Chavuma boasts of one commercial bank, the National Savings and Credit Bank (NATSAVE), which provides banking services to the local people.

THIS community radio station was recently built in the district.
The district also has eight lodges which provide accommodation to travellers.
It is evidently clear that Chavuma is on the right development path as evidenced by the massive infrastructure projects Government is undertaking in the district.