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LUAMPA member of Parliament (MP) Josephine Limata addressing residents at Lui Primary School in Luampa Constituency recently. PICTURE: ARTHUR MWANSA.

Josephine Limata: Shining woman parliamentarian

“IT was around 16:00 hours in 2012 that late President Michael Sata, may his soul rest in peace declared Luampa a district. I was overjoyed. This is because of my hard work, commitment and determination to serve the people of Luampa in Western Province,” said Luampa member of Parliament (MP) Josephine Limata in an interview recently.
Ms Limata, was born on August 8, 1948 at Limata village in Chief Mweene Tete’s chiefdom. She was married to the late Charles Mwiya, a veterinary officer. Ms Limata attended primary school at Lealui, which is now Lealui Basic School in Mongu.
She completed her high school education at Lusaka’s Libala Secondary School with a General Certificate of Education (GCE) and is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in social and development studies at University of Lusaka (UNILUS), a private university established in 1999.
Her first stint in the political arena was under the United Party for National Development (UPND) in 2001. She contested for the position of councillor in Lusaka’s Munali constituency; unfortunately she did not make it.
“Despite losing in Munali, the people of Luampa demanded that I contest as MP for Luampa Constituency. I answered the people’s call which I successfully contested and won in 2006. I must state that during this period and still under the UPND, I diligently and faithfully served the people of Luampa.
Suffice to say that people of Luampa want to work with the government of the day, that is why in 2011, the majority of residents asked me to recontest under the then ruling Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD). I confidently retained my seat,” Ms Limata said.
Ms Limata who is still serving under the MMD is the current deputy Minister of Community Development Government has in the past saved as Deputy Minister of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs (2014) Western Province Minister and Gender Deputy Minister (2013), Southern Province Minister (2012) and North-Western Province Minister (2011).
Ms Limata however, says her political journey has not always been easy. “I have experienced a lot of challenges, both from my own friends and in the political arena. I have been harassed and threatened before, all this is on record, even law-enforcement officers are aware about these threats. I do not want to mention names of political parties that are culprits or those that have perpetuated violence and harassment against me”.
The MP, widow and mother is a proud businesswoman who is grateful to Government for the developmental projects being undertaken in her area.
During her time as area MP, Ms Limata is proud to have spearheaded projects such as the construction of 10 police houses, 32 houses for civil servants, the civic centre, administration  block, police station, district hospital, district commissioner’s and district administrative officer’s houses respectively.  And the construction of both primary and secondary schools, clinics and the district hospital.
She says “I am happy to mention that out of 32 schools, two are secondary while 30 are primary schools. I am delighted to say that wherever you go in Luampa there is a structure; most structures are as a result of my hard work.
This is why I am grateful to the late President Sata for declaring Luampa a district. I am also happy that President Lungu is following the footsteps of Mr Sata to ensure that development is taken to all parts of the country”.
Ms Limata has however, expressed concern at the slow pace at which the construction of a 66/33/11kV ground-mounted transformer under the Rural Electrification Authority (REA) is being done which should have been completed in 2012.
“It is sad to note that the pace of work on ground-mounted transformer is slow. The problem with some local constructors is that they do not fulfil their mandate; immediately they are paid their monies, they abandon the projects. They go on holiday for leisure or even buy expensive vehicles, leaving the project behind,” Ms Limata said.
Ms Limata has commended the Zambia National Women’s Lobby (ZNWL), Women for Change (WfC), Zambia Women Parliamentary Caucus (ZWPC) that have embarked on a project to increase and enhance the participation of women candidates for the August 11 general elections.
“I am appealing to my fellow women to stand up and contest for positions at local government and Parliamentary levels. This is the only way we are going to increase our numbers in leadership and decision-making positions. However, we must remind ourselves that the political path is not easy, most people will turn against you [women] because of resentfulness,” she said.
Ms Limata has since called on female politicians to be united and speak with one voice as the country prepares for the general elections.
“We must be united, the problem with us women is that we are not united, we are always fighting each other, we must be aware that our men folk take advantage of our wrangles to defeat us,” she said.
Ms Limata is confident of retaining her seat, saying Luampa residents have requested her to re-contest under the Patriotic Front (PF) ticket.