JIMMY CHIBUYE, Mbala
PRESIDENT Lungu yesterday opened the Zambia Air Force (ZAF) Samora Machel Airbase located in Mbala to civil aviation and commercial flights.
And the President has commissioned the first ever solar-powered milling plant at which local people will mill maize into mealie-meal at a cheaper and affordable price.
Mr Lungu said in Mbala yesterday the Samora Machel airport will no longer be the preserve of the defence wing, but is open to civil aircraft to boost tourism in the northern region of Zambia.
He was speaking at Tanzuka Primary School at a rally to drum up support for Patriotic Front (PF) candidate Kapembwa Simbao in the April 14, Senga Hill parliamentary by-election.
â€œI am announcing that the Samora Machel airbase is now open to civil aviation. This means commercial aircraft will now be landing at the base. This is to enhance tourism and economic activities in the northern region,â€ Mr Lungu said.
He said he has already signed relevant laws to open the airbase to the public.
The President said ZAF will not stop operating from the airbase, but will be sharing the facility with commercial flights, and that commercial aircraft will be subjected to ZAF control.
Mr Lungu said his decision to avail the airport free to the public is a fulfilment of his promise made to the traditional leaders in the area.
And President Lungu has commissioned the first ever solar-powered milling plant that will help reduce mealie-meal prices.
Mr Lungu said here yesterday that the milling plant is a pilot project of the planned countrywide maize-grinding plants.
President Lungu said the milling plant is a demonstration of the expected outcome of the trip he recently undertook to China, where Government sourced for funds for the construction of the plants.
Mr Lungu said he wants to see the reduction of mealie-meal prices and that the successful implementation of the milling plants will help Government achieve this goal.
China Non-Ferrous Metals Mining Development Zambia Investment Corporation Limited director Qi Dehu said the plant was built at a cost of US$50,000.
Mr Qi said if his company is given the contract to build other plants, it would do so and mealie-meal prices would reduce.
And Chief Mpande is happy Government chose his palace to launch the first ever solar milling plant in Zambia.
Meanwhile, President Lungu said the PF will fully support Mr Simbao during the forthcoming by-election to ensure he retains the Senga Hill seat.
He urged the people of Senga Hill to vote for Mr Simbao to ensure that the development projects he embarked on when he was member of Parliament under the MMD continue.
At a rally held at Mambwe grounds, President Lungu said he is happy with the peaceful campaigns and urged all political parties to continue with the same spirit.
President Lungu said the United Party for National Development (UPND) does not have the capacity to initiate development in the area.
PF secretary general Davies Chama and chairman for elections Musonda Mpakata said Mr Simbao would be a better representative for Senga Hill than the UPND candidate Gilles Yambayamba.
Minister of Education Michael Kaingu and Northern Province Minister Freedom Sikazwe urged the electorate to vote for Mr Simbao.
JIMMY CHIBUYE, Mbala