NKWETO MFULA, Chingola
CHINGOLA, a predominantly mining town is now known as once cleanest town in Zambia’.
The town dropped on this ranking due to the degradation in road infrastructure and other social amenities.
With the privatisation of the mining industry in the year 2000 with employees being given contracts with the new investor, support to communities through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) by the new owners was not sufficient to maintain the road infrastructure as was the case under Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines (ZCCM).
During the ZCCM days, maintenance of roads and social facilities was a priority.
Recreation centres and maintenance of the surroundings in Chingola was part of ZCCM’s CSR.
With such support, the district’s surroundings always appeared green and lushly.
And this is part of what gave the district the name of “The cleanest town in Zambia”.
But the tag was not to last, with the sale of the mine to the private owners.
Residents now only have memories of how clean the town used to be.
The road network became deplorable with social amenities facilities becoming ruins.
Goodward Nyirenda is a miner who has worked for Konkola Copper Mine Underground Mine for 35 years and he is sad at the turn of events.
Mr Nyirenda, who is provincial co-ordinator of Mine Contractors and Allied Workers Union of Zambia recalls how Chingola was the talk of the day in other districts because of its clean environment.
“When you arrive at Kasombe turn-off at the barracks, you could see the cleanliness of Chingola from there,” he says.
Mr Nyirenda recalls that Unhawal company was responsible for collecting garbage in the communities from each household.
“Every morning the employees for Unhawal came to collect the waste, but today people are just throwing rubbish anyhow,” he says.
Mr Nyirenda is optimistic that Chingola will still reclaim its lost status following the launch of the C400 township road rehabilitation project by President Lungu.
“The rehabilitation of the road network is a milestone to reclaiming the status of Chingola,” he says.
About 49 km of the township roads will be rehabilitated in Chingola under the C400 project at a cost of K493 million.
To add to the efforts to make Chingola clean again, the council has lined up activities to restore the town‘s reputation.
It started with the launch of the “Keep Zambia Clean and Health” campaign, which involves the collection of garbage, cutting down of over grown grass and sweeping the streets.
“The council’s vision will only be achieved with concerted efforts from all stakeholders,” says Chingola Municipal Council town clerk Kabombo Mutakela.
Mr Mutakela says the rehabilitation of the road network is important as it will result into increased economic development.
“All the three contractors are on the site, working on the roads in Chingola,” he says.
Mr Mutakela, who was recently transferred to Chingola from Mpika is confident that the face of Chingola will soon change for the better.
“We are doing everything possible to change the face of Chingola and this is only achievable through working together with the stakeholders,” he says.
Chingola Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Freddie Musonda says working together is key to regaining the lost status of the mining town.
“As stakeholders from the private sector, we are going to work together with the council to realise the dream,” he says.
Chingola Mayor Titus Tembo says the council is also working towards attaining the city status by 2020.
“We are working to achieve our strategic plan as a local authority to attain the city status by 2020,” he says.
Mr Tembo said the 2015-2019 strategic plan will soon be reviewed.
He says the ten goal statement of the strategic plan is to improve service delivery and access to public services to uplift the living standards of Chingola residents.
This, he says will be done in line with the Seventh National Development Plan.
Chingola covers a total land surface of 167,800 hectares (1678km2) and borders Chililabombwe in the North, Kalulushi in the South, Mufulira in the East and Lufwanyama in the West.
According to the 2010 census, the population of the mining town is estimated at 210,823 with females accounting for 48.9 percent and males 51.1 percent.