Kabwe attracts 4 mayoral candidates

KABWE is the only district with a municipal council out of the 11 local authorities found in Central Province.
The provincial administration centre, which attained the municipal status in 1954, should have developed and become a city if everything went well.
Once a thriving lead and zinc mining district and an industrial hub, Kabwe, the home of the Zambia Railways Limited headquarters, has remained an undeveloped municipality 51 years after Zambia’s independence.
While Chipata, Kasama, Solwezi and Mongu are planned to become cities, little is known about when the former Broken Hill town is likely to graduate into a city.
This city status should have been preceded by the development of infrastructure such as tarred roads, state-of-the-art bus stations and markets, a vibrant airport and fire brigade.
Kabwe’s current status can partly be attributed to what some local people deem to be mediocre leadership over the years.
That is why the onus is now on the incoming executive mayor and councillors in collaboration with the municipal council’s management and government heads of departments to transform Kabwe.
Four people in the name of Prince Chileshe of the Patriotic Front (PF), United Party for National Development (UPND)’s Brian Ngoma, Godfrey Pende of the Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) and MMD’s Victor Sikutwa, are vying for the position of executive mayor.
With the decentralisation policy gradually being implemented, the incoming executive mayor should brace for more work in as far as administering development activities in the provincial capital is concerned.
The executive mayor will play a leading role to ensure that the local authority implements programmes and projects, enact progressive by-laws and execute other functions as prescribed by the law of the land.
Mr Chileshe says if elected, he will provide the effective leadership that is needed to transform Kabwe into a hub of economic activities.
The 31-year-old agricultural economist and businessman, says the fact that President Lungu’s government has delivered is one of the reasons why he is confident of winning the executive mayoral position.
“Firstly, I want to bring sanity in the operations of the council. Kabwe has lagged behind in development,” Mr Chileshe says.
“We want Kabwe to be organised and starting from members of staff, I would want them to change their work culture to become hard workers.”
His leadership, he says, will be about teamwork with MPs, councillors, council management and various government departments in advancing the cause of Kabwe district.
Ensuring that Kabwe attains a city status and turns into an economically vibrant region, will also be his priority.
Mr Chileshe says improvement of the road and drainage networks, installation of street lights, improving water supply and sanitation services as well as garbage collection, are among the things he plans to focus on if he becomes executive mayor of Kabwe.
He also pledges to broaden the revenue base of the local authority because this will enable the council to have sufficient funds for service delivery.
“Everything is centred on delivery of services by the council. So we need to increase revenue collection by widening the revenue base,” he says.
Mr Chileshe says much as he is sponsored by the PF in next month’s general elections, he will work for all the people of Kabwe irrespective of their political affiliation.
As for Mr Ngoma, he is of the view that Kabwe is supposed to be a vibrant city but because of lacking effective leadership, it has lagged behind in terms of development.
Mr Ngoma, 41, says he has been prompted to vie for the position of executive mayor because he wants to offer solutions to the challenges facing the people of Kabwe.
A mining engineer and businessman, Mr Ngoma says Kabwe needs a leadership with foresight, a leader who will be able to enhance service delivery in the former mining town.
“I am determined to ensure that things start improving in terms of development.
There is need to change negative attitudes into positive ones,” he points out.
Mr Ngoma laments that Kabwe has stagnated because of poor leadership but that he is there to change things for the better if elected executive mayor.
He says if he becomes mayor, he will offer credible leadership.
Mr Sikutwa is rating himself as the best person to be executive mayor and should that come to pass, he will deliver because he is mature and has the necessary experience.
The 64-year-old businessman is the chairperson of the ‘Make Kabwe Clean and Healthy’ campaign who is determined to facilitate development and economic activities in the district.
“The years that I have stayed in Kabwe indicate that I have so much to give back to this town and the time has come for me to give back and improve the standards of this town,” Mr Sikutwa says.
He pledges to play a leading role in ensuring that Kabwe attains a city status in the very near future.
He also intends to spearhead the construction of bus stations and public toilets in the central business district and ensure that street vendors conduct their businesses in a conducive environment.
“I will bring in a system of cleanliness as I am already doing that with the council in the ‘Make Kabwe Clean and Healthy’ campaign,” Mr Sikutwa says.
He also wants people to have decent accommodation especially in unplanned settlements.
Mr Pende, 40, who served as Nakoli ward councillor from 2001 to 2011 and was deputy mayor of Kabwe from 2004 to 2006, believes he is the right person for the job of executive mayor.
“I want to serve the people of Kabwe as executive mayor because I have the kind of experience needed to deliver,” Mr Pende, who contested in 2011 as Member of Parliament (MP) for Bwacha Constituency on the MMD ticket but lost, says.
Having represented Kabwe during the sittings of the National Constitutional Conference, Mr Pende believes he has the necessary credentials to work and deliver to people’s expectation if elected.
Mr Pende says he will see to it that the municipal council becomes a viable institution which will efficiently respond to the challenges facing the people of Kabwe.
“If I am elected, I am ready to serve and bring development to Kabwe and I will make sure that all the councillors who will be elected deliver to the expectation of the people,” he says.

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