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Chingola council looks to city status

CHINGOLA covers a total land surface of 167,800 hectares (1678 square kilometres) and borders Chililabombwe in the north, Kalulushi in the south, Mufulira in the east and Lufwanyama in the west.
The mining town has Nchanga and Chingola constituencies with a total of 27 wards – 17 in Nchanga, 10 in Chingola.
According to the 2010 census, the population of Chingola is estimated at 180,823 with females accounting for 48.9 percent and males 51.1 percent.
The average population annum growth rate stands at 0.5 percent.
In comparison to other districts on the Copperbelt Province, the mining town ranks third in terms of population after Ndola and Kitwe with about 503,649 and 388,648 people, respectively.
Chingola’s peri-urban areas are sparsely populated with agriculture as the main economic livelihood.
Chingola, which was once the cleanest town in Zambia, has lost its glory because of a number of problems it is facing.
With increasing population and demand for public services, the municipality’s use of public resources may continue showing a mismatch with community needs and expected levels of service delivery.
A number of factors have created the gap between the available resources and quality of services delivered to residents.
It is against this background that Chingola has come up with a strategic plan.
The plan is an effort to close the gap and ensure that more realistic strategy or direction is put in place to achieve the intended goals and objectives of the council.
Strategic planning is an organisation’s process of defining its strategy or direction and making decisions on the allocation of its resources.
Chingola is among five other municipalities in the country to benefit from a strategic planning capacity building programme facilitated by the Local Government Association of Zambia with support from the German organisation for international cooperation (GIZ).
The council states that in view of the district’s development problems and challenges, council departments formulated the development goals and strategies which are aimed at addressing the identified challenges and setting the development agenda in the next five years.
And on the department of development planning the council is eager to streamline and strengthen the land management and development control system.
It also plans to accelerate socio-economic development and coordinate and spearhead implementation of the national decentralisation policy.
On its strategies the council aims at developing a land management service charter and minimum service standards, coordinate the preparation and mid-term review of the strategic plan as well as establish and orient ward development committees among other several strategies.
“Consultation with residents resulted in three top priorities being defined for each ward thereby making the strategic plan, a plan for the entire district and not just for the council,” the strategic plan reads in part.
When it comes to social infrastructure, that is education, police and health institutions, the municipality’s role is to provide the relevant line ministries with land and community priority needs.
The local authority also seeks to work in conjunction with the stakeholders such as Mulonga Water and Sewerage Company, Road Development Agency, Zesco Limited, Rural Roads Unit and the Rural Electrification Authority, which should rise to the challenge and provide services.
The local authority believes by doing that it will create an environment where investors and local entrepreneurs will want to do business, the driving force towards prosperity and sustainability.
To encourage public private partnerships and meaningful corporate social responsibility that truly benefit society, the council must make available reliable and up-to-date information on community needs and opportunities for private sector involvement.
Chingola mayor Titus Tembo says the strategic plan serves as a roadmap for attaining a common vision based on agreed priorities that the local authority intends to pursue in the short to medium term.
Mr Tembo said the strategic plan will result in Chingola attaining city status.
“Indeed Chingola is ready for a city status by 2020. Therefore my appeal to all residents and stakeholders is that they rise to the challenge and ensure that each one of us plays a role,” he said.
Mr Tembo said Government’s gazetting of Jesus Worship Centre International in Chingola as a cathedral to be called the Jubilee Cathedral is in the right direction for the mining town to attain a city status.
He said the 2015-2019 strategic plan not only provides a vision of the future, but most importantly, defines clear outcomes against which to measure progress.
The city fathers point out that the strategic plan is most critical in ensuring effectiveness and efficiency as well as citizen’s participation in the development process.
Local Government and Housing permanent secretary Stanford Msichili has directed all councils to come up with strategic plans to enhance service delivery to communities.
Mr Msichili said the devolution of powers to municipalities is real and that there will be no turning back because it is a prudent way of maximising on meagre resources.
“As councils develop their own strategic plans, it is necessary for them to deal with the negative public perception with regard to their service delivery,” he said.
He said the negative public perception should be reversed if the councils are to take their rightful place in the sphere of service delivery.
Mr Msichili warned the council that strategic plans are not designed in formats that could easily be referred to on a daily basis.
He said there is need to prepare an implementation and monitoring tool in form of a strategic planning matrix.
“This is the reason many of these plans gather dust and are never used until the next plan. This [strategic planning matrix] will contain information that would directly assist in monitoring the progression of the strategic plan,” he said.
And Chingola resident Martin Bwalya expressed concern that various strategic plans have never worked and wondered how successful the implementation of the plan would be.
“A number of plans have come and gone without any successful implementation,” he said.
Mr Bwalya said the public should provide checks and balances to the local authority to ensure that the strategic plan is a success.