Focus on Members of Parliament:
CHRISTINE CHISHA, Lusaka
ABOUT eleven years ago, Pambashe Member of Parliament Ronald Kaoma Chitotela set off for his village, accompanied by his children and wife.
It was the questions posed by his children after exposure to poverty and illiteracy in the village that made him think about veering into the political arena.
Mr Chitotela’s oldest child could not understand why years after independence, his father drove on a bumpy road while his other child wondered why children his age in the village who could not read and write.
While he was discussing this with his children at his mother’s village, some villagers arrived seeking help to rush a 17-year-old woman, in labour, to a hospital.
After the woman delivered, her parents named the baby Ronald, after him, in gratitude for the transport the MP provided to the woman.
And this was one of the incidents that prompted the Pambashe MP to leave the business world to join politics so that he could contribute to the social and economic development of his area and the nation at large.
“Service above self, with a vision to transform and develop Pambashe Constituency prompted me to join politics. My aim is to see children exposed to good educational facilities with learners who will have a passion for development, well-served health facilities, electrification of the area and good road network.
“I also want to contribute to better living standards of the people in my area, so that they remember that they once had a committed, passionate Member of Parliament (MP) who also brought integrity to politics in the area,” he said.
Pambashe Constituency lies on the plateau of Muchinga Escarpment in Kawambwa district in Luapula Province, 1,200 kilometres from Zambia’s capital, Lusaka.
With a population of 87,341 as per 2010 census, the district is divided into two constituencies namely Kawambwa Central and Pambashe Constituency. Agriculture is the main economic activity in the constituency.
Although he lost the seat in 2006 as MP, Mr Chitotela did not give up and in 2011, he was adopted under the Patriotic Front (PF) out of 21 aspiring candidates who wanted to stand on the party ticket. He emerged winner of the seat in the elections.
He is happy that his constituency is receiving a fair share of development since the PF took over Government in 2011.
After serving parliament as a back, bencher, he was appointed Deputy Minister of Labour and later was transferred to Ministry of Sports.
In 2016 Mr Chitotela recontested the seat and won with a wide margin.
“It was a humbling confidence by the people of Pambashe and I owe them quality service”.
Mr Chitotela, who is also Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development has hit the ground running to ensure he delivers on the campaign promises.
He has made the construction of roads, to ease movement, especially for small-scale farmers to reach the market, a priority.
The electrification programme has also started in the constituency in places such as Chimpepe and Lumangwe waterfalls area.
The Kawambwa Cassava and Bio Refinery project, which is owned by Sunbird Bioenergy Africa, is taking up the challenge to transform the unexploited land into the lifeblood of people in the Luena farm block and the province as whole.
The Kawambwa Cassava Bio Refinery project which is underway in the Luena farm block in Kawambwa is the first of its kind in the province and it is envisaged to create employment in Pambashe constituency.
President Lungu last year commissioned the US$190 million project which is scheduled to start production this year.
“We will soon start producing ethanol in Zambia and the move has helped more people to venture into an outgrower scheme programme for cassava in the area,” Mr Chitotela said.
The Environmental Council of Zambia (ECZ) has also given a go ahead to an Indian firm to set up a sugarcane plantation in the farm block in Kawambwa. The company, once set up, will create more than 2,000 jobs for the local people.
Government has given Nava Bharat 10,000 hectares of land in the farm block to set up the sugar plantation and feasibility studies on the project have already started.
And Government is constructing the first boarding school scheduled to open this year.
The contractors making a road from Kawambwa to Mporokoso are also constructing a girls’ technical secondary school which they have decided to name after President Edgar Lungu as he has proved to be a champion of girls’ education.
Mr Chitotela is also happy that the Ministry of Health is constructing a general hospital and six, mini hospitals. So far, two, mini hospitals are now in operation.
The general hospital will also including a training school for the medical personnel.
On the social aspect, the MP has engaged traditional leaders, parents and guardians to help in the fight against gender based violence (GBV).
Mr Chitotela is confident that after four years, the face of Pambashe will change in the health, education, tourism and road network in all the seven wards.
“I want to see health services brought as close to the people as possible. I also want the constituency to have better educational facilities and I want a female to succeed me as area MP. Since the creation of the constituency, no woman has stood in Pambashe.
“I also aim to open up the area through road construction and I am happy that Kawambwa, through the Link Zambia road network project, has been connected to Mporokoso and Luwingu.
In the tourism sector, Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Avic International to develop Kasaba Bay. Government is also developing the airstrip in in Lumangwe for easy movement of both local and international tourists. Lumangwe falls is the second largest after Victoria Falls.
Mr Chitotela has since pledged to leave Pambashe better than he found it ten years ago.