BENEDICT TEMBO, Monze
MONZE is one of the fastest, growing districts in Southern Province.
It being among the busiest transit towns, it is one of the agricultural hubs of the province.
Bordering among other towns, Choma, the provincial capital, and Mazabuka, the sugar cane growing district, Monze has huge potential for growth.
Monze is among the districts with great potential for investment. Its position, easy accessibility, abundant and diverse natural resources, attractive and friendly weather, are other peculiar characteristics of the district.
The availability of reliable railway line and road network that connects Monze to the tourism capital Livingstone in the south of the greater city of Lusaka, telecommunication links, reliable water supply, power supply from the national grid, good climate and topography make the district ideal and strategically located for investment.
Monze has many potential areas of investment identified for both local and foreign investors. It has immense agricultural and tourism potential which is yet to be fully exploited.
Agriculturally, the district is endowed with a long history of cattle rearing and cereals production which in the 1970s to 1980s placed Monze among nation, an area that produced the bulk of the national annual cereal requirement.
Monzeâ€™s tourism potential is undeniable. It has one national park called Lochnivar, approximately 410 km2 in size, and adjacent to it is the Kafue Flats Game Management Area (GMA) south bank which covers about 6,500 km2 of land.
Lochnivar National Park and the adjacent Kafue Flats GMA are endowed with high densities of the Kafue lechwe which is only endemic to the area and so attracts unique viewing.
The park and the GMA also host the widest diversity of bird species and hence is a natural paradise for the bird watcher. Other investment areas are crop production, agro-processing and livestock.
Opting to invest in the district can be a good link and extended market to Namwala (a district rich in livestock production), Gwembe (a district endowed with abundant stocks of fresh Kariba breams), Mazabuka and Choma.
Monze district can distinctly be divided into three regions namely the south eastern part of the district which has steep slopes dissected by streams that flow into Lake Kariba; the central high plateau area which consists of soft undulating old plain (which is ideal for maize growing); and the north-west low flat plain where the Kafue Flats and Kafue National Park fall. Of this total area coverage, the planning area (urban area) is only 10 percent while the rest is traditional land.
The district has a population of 195,921, according to the Central Statistical Office 2010 census of population and housing. This represents about 12.1 percent of the total population of the province (1,606,793) and 1.9 percent of the population of Zambia.
There are 26,194 households in the entire district and more than half of these homes are in Monze Central constituency.
The vast rural district services three constituencies Monze Central, which is the major hub of economic activity, Bweengwa and Moomba.
It is this potential that Monze has which has seen two people offering themselves as candidates to serve its residents as their chairperson of the district council.
CECILIA NYIRENDA – PF
Mrs Nyirenda, who calls herself as a senior citizen of Monze, is contesting on the Patriotic Front (PF) ticket.
â€œI have lived here for 31 years and I am running a school as my source of income as well as rendering services to the local community and I am laying a strong foundation for our future leaders,â€ Mrs Nyirenda says.
Mrs Nyirenda wants to see to it that streets are worked on since the PF government has already worked on the main roads.
She wants to ensure that the government builds a general hospital since Monze is now highly populated.
The construction of a district hospital will create more jobs and enhance the local peopleâ€™s access to health services as this is in line with the PF manifesto.
Mrs Nyirenda wants to see more schools built in the district. With women in villages covering long distances to access water, she will ensure that more boreholes are sunk.
Noting that a lot of people in the villages are pastoralists who depend on cattle as their source of income, Mrs Nyirenda says she will embark on the rehabilitation of dams so that animals have enough pasture.
The rehabilitation of dams will result in job creation for the local people.
BISHA MUNSAKA – UPND
Mr Munsaka, 50, is the United Party for National Development (UPND) candidate. He says among his priorities will be to expand the boundary for Monze township by negotiating with traditional leaders to release part of their land for human settlement and industrial development.
He says setting aside land for industrial development will trigger job creation as companies that will set up base will need to employ local people.
Mr Munsaka has also identified garbage collection as a challenge for Monze, especially around bars, the situation which has resulted in drainages being clogged.
â€œThe town is growing, we have to talk to the people who have acquired residential plots,â€ Mr Munsaka said.
A trader by occupation, Mr Munsaka says Monze needs a modern market to cater for the growing population of traders as the current one cannot cope.
He is of the view that a bigger market may help sort out the problem of street vending as some traders operating from shop corridors and along roads will be relocated.
Lack of a bus station, Mr Munsaka says, has been depriving the council of revenue.
Building a bus station will help improve the councilâ€™s revenue base.
Currently, inter-town luxury coaches load from Road House, commonly known as Tooters, off the Lusaka-Livingstone road.
â€œMonze has no bus station, as a result, the council is losing out of revenue,â€ says Mr Munsaka, who has been chairperson of the marketeers for the past 10 years.
He says with an improved income base, the council will be able to procure more graders to keep the gravel road network which cuts across three constituencies in a safe state.
Currently, the council has one grader.
Following a persistent dry spell in the province, Mr Munsaka is considering drilling boreholes to increase peopleâ€™s access to water.
He says the drilling of new boreholes will also include deepening existing boreholes and repairing damaged ones.
Monze Central has 11 wards, Bweengwa seven while Moomba has four.
BENEDICT TEMBO, Monze