CONSTITUENCY WATCH with CHRISTINE CHISHA, Nyimba
SITUATED 340 kilometres from Zambiaâ€™s capital city, Lusaka, is Nyimba district. It is one of the largest districts in Eastern Province occupying a surface area of 125,000 square kilometres and geographically is both a valley and plateau.
It shares boundaries with Petauke in the east, Feira (Luangwa) in the south- Mpika and Serenje in the north and an international boundary with Mozambique in the south.
The district has a population of 90,049 as per 2010 census of which 60 percent live on the plateau and the rest dwell in the valley.
Since 2006, the Nyimba parliamentary seat has been under a youthful member of Parliament (MP) Forrie Tembo, who is a member of the former ruling party, MMD.
Mr Temboâ€™s humility, hardwork and perseverance for developing the constituency caught the attention of the ruling party â€“ the Patriotic Front (PF), which has seen him appointed to serve in Government as deputy Minister of Information and Broadcasting.
However, despite many developmental projects going in the constituency, constituents want to see more development such as better roads, creation of employment and accessibility to health and education facilities.
â€œNyimba constituency is faced with challenges such as unemployment, inadequate health facilities, poor water reticulation, poor roads and drainage system,â€ said Albert Lungu, a resident of Chenjelani Musadabwe village.
He said feeder roads are in a poor state so much that farmers cannot access the markets because vehicles cannot pass through the roads.
Mr Lungu said farming is the main activity in Nyimba and it is important that roads are worked on so that farmers can have easy access to the market.
For Solomon Banda, lack of permanent employment opportunities among youths in the district is his main concern.
He said the only employment that most youth get are casual jobs from contractors who do works in the district for a short period of time.
â€œAt the moment Iâ€™m a casual worker at the hospital which is under construction. So far 70 percent of the works are done and soon the hospital will be completed, meaning I will be out of employment,â€ he said.
Mr Banda appealed to the area MP especially the constituency office to help the youth on how they can have access to the Youth Development Fund so that they come up with income generating sustainable projects.
For Rosemary Daka, her biggest need and that of other parents, is the need for more health posts to be constructed in the district.
She said during the rainy season some bridges are washed away and villagers cannot cross the streams to access medical facilities.
Mrs Daka also said water has been a problem in the area and could not remember when she last accessed piped water.
She also called for more transparency on how the council with the area MP come up with projects to be undertaken using the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).
Mrs Daka, however, commended the area MP for his commitment to ensuring that the CDF is prudently used.
She said so far the community has seen a health post in Ndake village constructed under CDF and also the rehabilitation of the bus stop.
And Council secretary Peter Ngulube said Nyimba has seen unprecedented developmental projects in the recent past funded by Government projects and others under CDF.
He said under CDF a bus station and a shelter has been constructed with the first district library is under construction.
â€œSince independence the district has never had a library which somehow has contributed to the literacy levels in the district. The library is being constructed at a cost of K250,000, â€ he said.
Mr Ngulube said in 2013 all the CDF amount totalling to K1,280,000 was used to procure an earth moving equipment which included a grader, tipper track and a tractor. All the three pieces of equipment has arrived in the country and delivered to the council.
Mr Ngulube said most of the CDF funds in 2014 CDF were allocated to the education and health sectors. Under education, classrooms were constructed, science laboratories in different areas such as Chinambi, Homfyer and Chipunyuma.
Under the health sector- a health post has been constructed at Utotwe another one at Kavuma and a maternity wing has been constructed at Luemba rural health centre.
In the area of water and sanitation, a borehole has been drilled in the police camp and an electric tank has been mounted.
Mr Ngulube said under government projects, a district hospital is under construction and 70 percent of the works are done.
He said 30 council houses, new council officers, a council motel and a local court are under construction. With the help of the Eastern Water on Sewerage Company, drainages are being worked on and new pipes are being installed to improve clean water reticulation.
He said two bridges have also been built with the help of the National Road Fund Agency (NRFA) at a cost of K704,015.50 in areas that were a challenge to reach the Boma during the rainy season.
Mr Ngulube said K405,772.50 was used to construct the Edgar Lungu Bridge on Musongozi stream with K298,243.00 used to construct a bridge on Kasavu stream.
He said during the rainy season pupils at Hofmeyr Day secondary school could not go to school because the stream would be flooded and impassable while farmers could not transport goods.
â€œIt was not easy to cross the stream even during winter or summer with goods or children on our backs because water could reach us up to the waist. We are grateful to Government for constructing a bridge the reason we demanded that it is named after our President because we have seen it immediately he took over as president,â€ said one of the residents Joyce Mumba.
Mrs Mumba said the bridge is the biggest present the villagers had been looking forward to in a long time.
And area MP said his biggest focus is to leave Nyimba district a better place than he found it and ensured it acquires the status of municipality.
Mr Tembo said it is the reason he has not left any stone unturned to lobby for development in the constituency.
He said the water situation will soon improve in the district because through the Ministry of Local Government and Housing, K6 million has been released to do a complete overhaul of the water system and the works have started with phase one almost complete.
Mr Tembo said street lights are being installed in the district with a stretch of 800 metres done and the exercise will finish after the rehabilitation of townships roads.
He said the Ministry of Local Government and Housing has contracted Sable Company to construct 14.2 kilometres townships roads and the company have moved on site.
The MP said funding from Government to construct 30 houses for civil servants in the district to cushion accommodation challenges among civil servants has been received.
Mr Tembo said under CDF four secondary schools have been constructed in the district namely Moombe, Chimazi, Visimumba and Nyimba Day School.
He, however, expressed worry at lack of seriousness among the youth in the district. He said K35,000 was given to the youth to start an income-generating project but the material to construct Nyimba District Youth Skills Centre was stolen.
Mr Tembo said for the women clubs, they are doing a commendable job and so far there are 200 women clubs with some of the clubs having recently received funding from First Lady Esther Lungu when she visited Nyimba.
He will re-contest the seat in 2016 because his vision of improving infrastructure and turn Nyimba into an economic hub in Eastern Province is still alive.
CONSTITUENCY WATCH with CHRISTINE CHISHA, Nyimba