BRIAN MALAMA, Chipangali
THE lanky politician says it has taken him years to make a bold move to stand in Chipangali and make a contribution to the area, whose residents live in abject poverty.
The man is Ezra Banda, who is convinced that time has come for him to contest for Chipangali parliamentary seat to fulfil the dream of his life.
Mr Banda, a social scientist and entrepreneur, cites the lack of water in many villages, lack of a tertiary school and co-operatives that would lead to subsistence enterprise among the electorate.
â€œI have strong attachment with the community, especially the vulnerable and my plan is to engage them in projects that would lead to food security. This is why I strongly feel that time is now for me to represent my people from a political point of view,â€ Mr Banda said.
He said as a firm believer in God, Mr Banda believes that the creatorÂ has given equal opportunities to all but it is the circumstances in which certain people find themselves in that limits their potential.
Mr Banda feels that it is payback time for him to participate in local and parliamentary politics.
â€œWhen I grew up in Lundazi, my folks worked so hard in fostering my education, which led to my achieving a Bachelor of Science in Development Studies. It is time for me to share my knowledge and political approach in uplifting their lives,â€ Mr Banda said.
He said his decision to go back to his village has been fueled by his ambition to empower the residents of Chipangali.
â€œI have been on the ground far too long. I have contributed a number of borehole equipment, corrugated roofing sheets, hospital linen and helped in supporting rural electrification in some churches and clinics.â€
Together with his wife, Mr Banda has helped women clubs and empowered youths on how to achieve self actualisation.
Mr Banda argued contrary to what many people think, politics is not a â€˜dirty gameâ€™ and is only made dirty by some political players.
He further noted that it was important for upcoming politicians like himself to sanitise the so-called â€˜dirty gameâ€™.
He also believes that the benefactors of development in all sectors should take a lead in pushing the agenda adding that a united force would achieve more than a single person would.
Mr Banda pointed out that once voted in as member of Parliament (MP), he will facilitate capacity building at all levels by engaging all stakeholders for development.
â€œWe need to inculcate business skills and once our people are independent, they become less dependent on their MP,â€ Mr Banda said.
Mr Banda said he will examine the constituency programs by engaging the electorate in tackling certain problems while others will be subject to development fund, government assistance and donor aid.
He said Chipangali is endowed with alluvial soils, which is good for agriculture that would benefit the locals.
Mr Banda is planning on inviting local and multi-national agricultural players to invest into large scale farming as most areas with virgin land remains untapped.
He noted that Government has all departments relating to capacity building, therefore, it was incumbent upon the MPâ€™s to drive this service to the locals.
Mr Banda explained that people in rural areas have little appreciation of entrepreneurship adding that once this was achieved, levels of abject poverty will certainly decline.
Statistically, Chipangali has 120,000 inhabitants and half the population are youths with most of them who are unemployed and subsequently engaging in negative social vices, which are detrimental to their development.
Mr Banda said he will make all youths in the area active by ensuring that they play a major role in developing their homesteads.
â€œI want to move with the people since I do not have a solution as an individual. I want to move in tandem with them and avoid making promises.â€
He said each of the six wards in Chipangali will have independent action plans against available resources from constituency development fund (CDF) and government support.
Mr Bandaâ€™s vision is to make his people sustainable by becoming their own drivers in spearheading development in all key areas.
â€œChipangali currently has very poor road network with water and sanitation being pathetic. Certain villages do not have boreholes, forcing villagers to cover huge distances to fetch water,â€ Mr Banda lamented.
â€œI am not going as a businessman but as a service provider and I am confident of winning. I started thinking of serving the people in 2006, but I only came out in 2011. It is not an easy task but it is the people in this constituency who will take me to Manda Hill in Lusaka,â€ Mr Banda said.
Mr Banda was born in 1966, from Boniface Banda and Mary Perry Thole. He attended his first primary school at Ngulube and later switched to Chalumbwe Upper School.
â€œAt school, I played football and volleyball. I have been a leader from primary school up to tertiary education,â€ Mr Banda recounted.
He completed his grade 12 at Lundazi Secondary School and proceeded to Co-operative College to pursue accountancy studies.
Mr Banda enlisted for Business Studies with Evelyn Hone College before embarking on a degree programme in Development Studies with the Zambia Open University.
â€œI am married with two boys, Brian, 21, and Ian, 18, and my wife is Miriam Wake,â€ Mr Banda said.
Mr Banda said he was not impeccable and, therefore, expected the media to expose his weaknesses and perhaps help drive his intended goals.
He explained that he has developed brilliant strategies of development in Chipanagli together with the electorate and will only unveil his blue print once adopted to contest the position on a popular party ticket.
Mr Banda revealed that he has been approached by various political parties, but said he will depend on the decision by people in Chipangali Constituency to advise him on which party ticket to stand on.
BRIAN MALAMA, Chipangali