YANDE SYAMPEYO, Lusaka
HE developed the desire to become a politician at the age of 21 and having worked for the local government Service for 33 years, Maxwell Muma Kabanda retired to pursue his ambition.
Mr Kabanda joined the local government service in 1981, at Serenje district council as a clerical officer and rose through the ranks to the position of town clerk for Kalulushi Municipal Council, among others.
Mr Kabanda, is the newly- elected member of Parliament for Serenje Central constituency.
The MP says his relentless passion to the Local Government Service inspired him to join politics as he was in tune with community-based organisations and interacted with people at various levels of governance including politicians.
“I traversed this country. I have worked in Sesheke, Monze, Luanshya and I also did travel extensively outside the country.
“This exposure taught me how to interact with people and I witnessed development at various levels. At that point, I resolved to offer myself as a servant of the people and I was convinced I was the right candidate for the people of Serenje Central,” he recalls.
Born on September 23, 1956, in Serenje, Mr Kabanda’s journey to politics was not easy going as he had lost his first attempt to become MP of the area during the 2011 general election.
“I decided to contest the election immediately after I resigned in 2011, but for various reasons, I did not perform well. That is the year there was a change of Government from the MMD to PF and I contested the election on the MMD ticket.
“I performed considerably well because the person I lost to only had a councillor. I resolved not to petition the election because I knew the late President Micheal Sata at a personal level,” he recalls.
However, the loss did not demoralise Mr Kabanda as he continued working with people at the grassroot and to support growth in the constituency, he resolved to set up a lodge, Villa Mbanandi.
He re-contested the seat in 2016, and despite facing fierce competition from the then incumbent MP who was also a member of the central committee of the ruling party, his popularity earned Mr Kabanda victory.
Having being raised and worked in the area for a considerable time, the lawmaker feels he is best suit to assist people to overcome some of the challenges they are faced with due to his passion to serve mankind.
Mr Kabanda says the constituency requires attention in the area of roads, water and sanitation, health, education and poor telecommunication, among others.
The MP, who was educated at Serenje Boma and Serenje Secondary school, obtained a Diploma in Local Government Administration from the National Institute for Public Administration (NIPA).
Mr Kabanda, who boasts of being embracing and action- orientated, is of the view that a leader should regularly interact with people to understand challenges they face.
He says it is cardinal to allow people on the grassroot to dictate what is in their best interest to sustain their livelihood.
“My people informed me on the need for bridges, mother’s shelter, clinics and schools and I have since constructed four community schools from my own resources. I have also constructed a health post in Mbaswa area,” he says.
Mr Kabanda says the area, like many other constituencies, is faced with challenges which cannot be resolved wholly with the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).
He adds that from his own resources, a mothers’ shelter is under construction at the district hospital.
It breaks Mr Kabanda’s heart for people who have patients at the hospitals to spend nights in tents especially during winter.
The MP, however, is optimistic that with the release of K700, 000, CDF to the area, the mothers’ shelter will soon be completed.
The lawmaker also procured 140 blankets for the district hospital due to a critical shortage.
“I received a report from my constituency that the district hospital has no blankets.
“I informed the Minister of Health about the development and he assured me Government had ordered blankets for all hospitals but because this is winter, I thought it would be prudent to procure some urgently using my own resources,” he says.
Mr Kabanda believes leaders should strive to serve Government’s interest and ensure campaign promises are delivered.
“We campaigned for improved health service delivery and we are merely fulfilling our promises to the people,” he says.
He says the needs of the constituency are quite high but luckily, the lodge business has assisted him to sustain his political interest.
The MP has also allocated K10, 000 to women marketeers as a revolving fund which he plans to replicate to all markets in the constituency.
He believes when you empower women, you are sustaining households.
“I have a passion for marketeers because my mother was one of them. When I heard President Lungu parted away with 10 percent, of his salary to serve the marketeers, I decided to emulate him. I also plan on establishing home craft centres for women,” he says.
Mr Kabanda is also encouraging women in the area to form clubs to enable them generate business plans to sustain their welfare.
It is also his wish that schools from Ndabala area up to Pensulo are electrified to enable drop-outs, especially girls enrol for evening classes.
To keep the youths away from vices such as alcohol abuse, the MP procured sports equipment for schools.
He believes the lack of recreation facilities is partly responsible for early marriages as youths have no activities to keep them busy.
For the farming community, he is encouraging them to diversify from traditional maize crop to high value and nutritious crops such as cassava and sweet potatoes.
“Zambian Breweries is buying cassava for its beer and so I’m encouraging my people to grow crops that are devoid of fertiliser,” he says.
Mr Kabanda, married to Lucy, a retired nurse and a father of six says he has a passion in serving the interests of youths as future leaders.
“So, we have to invest in the young ones so that they can form the future leadership of this country. Any nation that does not invest in the youths is as good as a dead nation. So, we have to groom the young ones so that they can take over from us,” Mr Kabanda says.
Mr Kabanda also plans to buy into the recently, launched seventh National Development Plan (SNDP) and encourage people in the constituency to embrace the document.
“The country has a lot of potential and I will inculcate in the minds of our people the need to diversify our economy.
“The President spoke about changing our way of life, the need for unity, hard work and behaviour change. The principle of One Zambia, One Nation is surely the way to go,” Mr Kabanda.
The MP believes by working hard for the constituency, he is serving God.
“I can only serve God through serving his people. That is my contribution to the nation.