CONSTITUENCY WATCH with CHRISTINE CHISHA , Mufulira
MUFULIRA constituency is one of the 22 constituencies in the Copperbelt Province and it is situated 16 kilometres from the border of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and borders with Kitwe on the South-West and Ndola on the South-East.
One would think Mufurila Constituency being in the mining hub of the country has an advantageous location when it comes to socio-economic development.
Unfortunately, Mufurila a name that means place of abundance is not different from some constituencies in the rural areas still struggling with high levels of poverty, poor road networks, inadequate health and education facilities.
With a population of 162,889 according to the 2010 census, Mufurila transitioned into a district in 1930.
Mufurila district is home to a mine owned and operated by Mopani Copper Mines which employs about 10,000 permanent workers.
In a constituency endowed with minerals it is inconceivable that a pregnant woman has to struggle to get to Kamuchanga Hospital just to have a safe delivery, while in the same area, a parent is worried about a childâ€™s return home after walking 25 kilometres to find get to a school.
A marketer is crying for safe clean water to keep water-borne diseases at bay.
Kawama East ward Market committee chairperson Wilson Kamfwa said water reticulation is a big challenge in the area.
He said water reticulation has become a source of worry and appealed to area member of Parliament (MP) John Kufuna to help facilitate the sinking of boreholes in the area.
Mr Kamfwa, however, praised the Patriotic Front (PF) for building a trading shelter in Kawama East. â€œThe PF has done a good job and has shown that it is concerned with the well-being of the poor in societyâ€.
Mr Kamfwa said, â€œwe have seen a number of MPs who have not brought any meaningful development in the area, Mr Kufuna has proved that he is a man of his word and is committed to take development everywhere in the constituency,â€.
â€œIn the rainy season we could not sell because we had no shelter. We are grateful to our area MP-John Kufuna who helped construct a market shelter for us,â€ said Jane Mwansa.
Ms Mwansa said the construction of the market shelter is the fulfilment of one of the campaign promises from the MP. More than 150 marketeers trade at the market.
While marketeers are crying for safe drinking water, Martha Chibesa is calling for area MP to push for the electrification of the newly-constructed primary school so that it can start operating.
â€œOur children walk long distances to school every day. We are happy that a school has been constructed nearby awaiting electrification,â€ she said.
Ms Chibesa said while they are happy with the school, the area also needs a clinic and water kiosks or boreholes.
She said the nearest hospital is about 20km away and water reticulation is poor in Kamuchanga ward six.
However, the area MP said he was committed to ensuring that Mufurila constituency is developed.
Mr Kufuna believes, â€œthe performance of an MP is measured in the developmental projects that he or she spearheads in the constituencyâ€.
A spot check in Mufurila revealed that Mr Kufuna has so far spearheaded 48 developmental programs in his constituency since 2011 when he was elected MP.
Among the notable projects is the construction of market shelters, electrification of the Sikalangwe police camp, rehabilitation of Kamuchanga Hospital, construction of a modern market, roads rehabilitation and improvement of water reticulation.
Godfrey Chitambala, a police officer of Sikalangwe police camp thanked the MP for ensuring that the camp is electrified.
â€œIn 2009 about 240 houses in the police camp were experiencing low voltage which resulted in many of them failing to use electrical appliances. The low voltage was also a security threat being a police camp,â€ he said.
Mr Chitambala said a new Zesco line was only installed in 2012 and a sub-station was constructed which has resulted in high voltage.
And Mr Kufuna said apart from the police camp, other areas such as Kawama Township have also been electrified at a cost of K150,000.
Mr Kufuna who is also the Deputy Minister of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs said the market shelter was constructed using part of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) and installation of water kiosks has started in the area.
He said other wards that have received market shelters include Bwananyina, Kamuchanga, and Hark Kalanga.
Mr Kufuna said to improve water reticulation which has been the cry of the people, 12 boreholes have been drilled in Mutundu ward, 20 water kiosks have been constructed in Bwananyina ward, and water pipes rehabilitated in Chacha, Kawama West and Hark Kalanga wards.
The rehabilitation o f Kamuchanga Hospital has brought smiles on the faces of both the patients and health personnel.
The hospital has had its mortuary rehabilitated besides the purchase of a gen-set, benches and two ambulances.
Sister-in-charge at Kamuchanga hospital Agness Kunda said the hospital has also received Intensive-care beds, three incubators and blankets for patients.
She said shortage of equipment especially incubators was a big challenge for the hospital when a mother gives birth to a pre-mature baby.
Ms Kunda said with the current load-shedding, the purchase of a gen-set is timely.
Mr Kufuna said part of the CDF was used to rehabilitate the hospital and the purchase the gen-set.
He said his main goal is to leave Mufulira constituency better than he found it as member of Parliament. He is happy that in the education sector, he has managed to spearhead the construction and upgrading of schools in his constituency.
So far Kawama Primary School has been constructed and children in the area no longer walk long distances, construction of an ablution block at Buyantashi School, upgrading of Buyantashi to a secondary school and construction of Kansuswa Secondary School.
Other developmental projects in the area include the construction of community halls in Kawama West ward, Kamuchanga and upgrading of some roads to bituminous standard.
Mr Kufuna thanked Government for commencing the construction of a district hospital in Mufulira.
He said the construction of phase one of Mufulira District Hospital has started.
Mr Kufuna also commended Government for commencing the construction of a modern market in Mufulira which is expected to be completed soon.
He said 60 percent of the works on the site have been done and the project is progressing well. The market will have 76 small shops, two banking halls and a green market, with 30 stalls where ordinary marketeers will be operating.
CONSTITUENCY WATCH with CHRISTINE CHISHA , Mufulira