Analysis: NKWETO MFULA
IS CHINGOLA on the right path to regain its lost glory as a cleanest town in Zambia?
This is the question that begs more answers than meets the eye.
Chingola is not the same as it used to be in the 1980s, as there is population growth demanding for social and health service delivery.
Increased population has also resulted in amplified degradation of road and building infrastructure.
The heavy mining activities and transportation of copper to the export market have also contributed to damaging of the roads.
Chingola is home to the largest open pit mine in the World, ‘Nchanga Open Pit mine’.
One of the features pointing to mining is the artificial mining dumps which have transformed the originally flat land to the hilly landscapes.
Copper mining is the principal economic activity in Chingola and the sector is the biggest employer to the majority of the population.
According to the 2010 census, the population of Chingola is estimated at 210,823 with females accounting for 48.9 percent and males at 51.1 percent.
The peri-urban areas of the district are sparsely populated with agriculture as the main economic livelihood.
To copy with increased population in the district, Chingola Municipal Council is determined to deliver services to the people.
The local authority has come up with a K64.9 million for its Meduim Term Expenditure Framework /Activity Based Budget (MEFT/ABB) for 2018- 2020 budget.
Of the total budget, 60 percent of the locally generated revenue to be channelled on the provision of goods and services.
Chingola mayor Titus Tembo says the state of the road network is the infrastructure has contributed to making the town to look untidy.
However, Mr Tembo is optimistic that the mining district will regain its lost glory as the cleanest town in Zambia.
He says the increased road works is testimony enough for Chingola to be on the right path to regaining its lost glory.
So far, 27.4 kilometre stretch has being upgraded under the selected urban road project.
Government spent K67 million on the road works in Chingola.
Currently, the works are ongoing to rehabilitate over 49 kilometre stretch in Chingola under the Copperbelt 400 project.
President Lungu recently launched the C400 in Chingola which will cost Government K493million.
In Chingola, Government has contracted three construction companies namely; Avic International, Sino Hydro Limited and China Geo Limited to speed up road works.
Under the past Government, three contractors abandoned road works in Chingola.
In 2006, there was Tana Construction, 2008, it was Red Lion and in 2012 Mivami Construction, all abandoned the road works for various reasons.
“Chingola has been turned into a construction site following road works being undertaken by three contractors who are all on site,” Mr Tembo says.
With the ongoing works in Chingola the ‘ugly face’ of the mining town is fading off.
And the old face is springing back to regaining the lost glory as the cleanest town in Zambia.
Chingola is one of the districts in Zambia with no vendors in the central business district (CBD).
The CBD is swept by women that have been contracted to work as street sweepers in once the cleanest town in Zambia.
And on the council’s Strategic plan for 2015-2019, Mr Tembo says; “We are yet to review the 2015-2019 strategic plan to check on the benchmarks that have been achieved so far.”
The municipal council looks forward to attaining a city status by 2020.through achieving most of the benchmarks enshrined in the strategic plan.
Meanwhile, Chingola member of Parliament Mathew Nkhuwa says Government critics have been humbled following implementation of road project in the mining town.
Apart from road rehabilitation, Mr Nkhuwa says other sectors such as the health, education and social will be implemented.
“This is just the beginning of more things to come in terms of development in Chingola as the town treads on foundation steps to regaining its lost glory,” concluded.
Only time will tell, as Chingola is focused to attaining a city status and regaining its lost glory as the cleanest town in Zambia.
Chingola covers a total land surface of 167,800 hectares (16768 km2) and borders Chililabombwe in the north, Kalulushi in the south, Mufulira in the east and Lufwanyama in the west.
The author is Zambia Daily Mail, senior reporter based in Chingola.