Columnists

Like father, like son

KUNDA has continued with his late father’s programme where farmers are supported.

Focus on Members of Parliament:
NKWETO MFULA, Chingola
‘MY FATHER’S shoes are too big for me, but I am trying to see how best they can fit me,” says Muchinga Member of Parliament Howard Kunda, son of the late Republican Vice-President George Kunda.

Mr Kunda was first elected through a by-election on the MMD ticket following his father’s death in 2012.
And during the August 2016 general elections, Mr Kunda again contested as MMD candidate and was re-elected MP for the constituency in Serenje district in Central Province.
“Many people were saying that I was elected because of my late father’s status, but again I contested the general elections in 2016 and I was elected. This can only be attributed to the works being done in the constituency,” he says.
Mr Kunda, 42, says his late father used to send him to the constituency and that’s how people came to know him, way before he had dreams of becoming an MP.
It was from the same trips that he realised that he was known by the people, which compelled him to contest the seat after his father’s demise.
Though he feels his late father’s shoes are too big for him, he is trying to fit in by pushing for economic and social projects to foster development in Muchinga constituency.
Mr Kunda says development is attainable through working together with Government.
“I will continue working with Government to foster development in Muchinga constituency,” he says.
HEALTH
Mr Kunda says of the ten health posts under construction, three have been completed and the construction of staff houses for the health personnel is still ongoing.
Government has already deployed health personnel to the completed health facilities and people are accessing health primary care closer to their door steps.
He says people used to travel long distances to access primary health care.
Boreholes are being sunk in the health facilities to ensure water is readily available.
Mr Kunda says Government’s concerted effort to upgrade the living standards of the people through provision of health primary care is being implemented in the area.
ROADS
Mr Kunda says the road network is in a deplorable state and requires urgent attention.
Following the bad road network, the constituency approved the purchase of a grader to rehabilitate the infrastructure in the region.
It was from the 2014 Constituency Development Fund (CDF) that K1.1 million was set aside for the purchase of the grader.
“But last year the approval failed because of the fluctuation of the Kwacha against major convertible currencies,” he says.
Mr Kunda says now that everything is in place, the CDF committee will reaffirm the purchase of a grader.
The purchase of a grader is an initiative by the constituency development committee as a way of accelerating road rehabilitation.
The rehabilitation of the roads will ease transportation of agricultural goods to the markets
He is hopeful that once the K700,000 is released, it will help in supporting other developmental projects.
ENVIRONMENT
The constituency, in partnership with Government and United Nations Development Programme has come up with a forestry regeneration project.
He says people cut trees to make charcoal as a way of making quick money without considering the impact on the environment.
The team of Government and UNDP officials was in the constituency to talk to the people about sustainable ways to manage the environment.
“They are looking at regeneration of the forestry,” Mr Kunda says.
The regeneration programme is being done in Muswema Forestry reserve.
EDUCATION
On education, Mr Kunda says the constituency faced challenges where a number of children were out of school and the schools are not being upgraded.
“My late father upgraded grass thatched houses at some schools,” he says.
The lawmaker is pushing the Ministry of General Education to consider coming up with examination centres in most of the schools in the area.
He says a lot of pupils walk long distances to write examinations in designated schools.
“Pupils walk as far as 60 to 70 km to access examination centres hence the need to upgrade some schools to examination centres,” he says.
Both science and computer laboratories are being established in some schools.
He also appeals to Government to identify innovation in children to help realise their dreams.
He says there is need to support technology in many areas in the country.
AGRICULTURE
Apart from support from Government to the people through Farmer Support Programme, agriculture is the main stay of Serenje district with some farmers involved in out-grower schemes.
Mr Kunda has continued with his late father’s programme where farmers are supported with the D compound and Urea fertiliser and seeds.
Farmers are also engaged in out-grower schemes as was the case last year with most of them going into soya beans.
The youths were not left out in the out-grower scheme to ensure food security in the country.

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