YANDE SYAMPEYO, Siavonga, Chirundu
AS the common adage goes â€˜Water is Life, Value It. It is important for people to have access to this vital commodity.
However, some Zambians have never had access to clean drinking piped water in their lifetime, making it difficult for them to enjoy their right to quality health and good sanitation.
It is for this reason Government is committed to ensuring that clean water is brought as close to communities as possible.
The possibility of connecting water will be made possible through a number of workable strategies, which Government has embarked on in various parts of the country.
Recently, President Edgar Lungu announced that people of Siavonga and Chirundu districts who have been negatively impacted by water blues will have access to piped water soon.
In 2014, over 5,180,000 people in Zambia did not have access to reliable and clean drinking water. This is despite the fact that the country has abundant water as 9 220 kilometre square of land is covered by water.
And the inadequate provision of piped water in the two districts dismayed the Head of State due to abundant water the two areas possess.
Mr Lungu says it is unacceptable that most people in the two districts do not have access to clean and piped water.
â€œWhy do we have a problem of water here and yet we have abundant water in the Kariba dam? My administration will have to engage experts to see how we can get water directly from the lake, treat it and have it supplied to the people,â€ Mr Lungu says.
Residents in the two districts have not only been experiencing erratic water supply, but they have been subjected to long distances to access clean running water since time immemorial.
This is despite the two areas possessing abundant water from the Kariba dam and Zambezi River.
â€œI cannot wait for the time we will have water from taps. I have not seen running water from the time I was born and my prayer is for Government to give us clean water, so that we can rest from carrying buckets on our heads,â€ Dorothy Kanyama, a resident of Siavonga said.
Ms Kanyama, a mother of six will soon have her dream come true. She has always wanted a back yard garden to grow vegetables for sale and get money for her children`s school fees and other basic needs.
â€œOur greatest desire is for President Lungu, who I believe is a listening head of state and his administration to consider making our dream a reality,â€ She says.
The cry for clean water has not spared the traditional leadership, who in this case have asked Government to expedite the process of connecting piped water in the two districts.
Chief Simaamba and Sinadambwe of Siavonga complained of dried boreholes in their chiefdoms.
Chief Simaamba says boreholes in the two chiefdoms have dried up forcing his subjects to walk long distances to draw water from the Kariba dam.
The two traditional leaders made the remarks when they met President Lungu at ZESCO lodge in Siavonga district recently.
The President was in the area for a series of campaign meetings, ahead of the August 11, general election.
â€œBoreholes in the two districts have dried up completely. Hence, we request your administration to consider coming to our plight,â€ Chief Simaamba says.
Chief Simaamba, who spoke on behalf of his counterpart, also laments the stalled infrastructure projects in the district.
He cites the civic centre and district commissionerâ€™s office as some of the projects that have stalled. The traditional leader wants government to also consider sending relief food to the area as hunger has hit the district especially in the remote parts, due to the prolonged dry spell in the last farming season.
â€œWe had drought in the 2015/2016 farming season, hence we request for urgent relief maize from government. The state should also assist us by constructing a district hospital and rural health centres, â€œChief Simaamba says.
The traditional leader also informed the President of their preparedness for the election and referendum. Chief Simaamba says tradition leaders in the area are ready to work with government as they are non-partisan.
From the meeting with the traditional leaders, the President took time to interact with the people of Siavonga district when he addressed a rally at Kariba North Bank ground. Mr Lungu assured them that his administration will continue to foster developmental projects in the area.
â€œI will complete all the developmental projects in this district. We will upgrade all the feeder roads and light up the lakeshore among other things. We will do things that have not been done before,â€ Mr Lungu says.
He says Zambians should trust and vote for the Patriotic Front as it is a tried and tested leadership.
The President noted that governing a country is complex and that the citizenry should not make a mistake of voting for leaders who are only interested in amassing wealth.
â€œAsk yourselves, if someone has lost elections five times and they are not giving up, what are they fighting for? Why do some people think they are the only ones to be Presidents of this country?
â€œI think it is time some political parties consider substituting some leaders because even in football, if a player is not scoring, they are substituted,â€ he says.
He is of the view that if another party is voted in government, they will reverse the developmental gains achieved by the PF.
From Siavonga, the Head of State headed to Chirundu district in Lusaka Province at Boom ground. Here he also assured residents of governmentâ€™s commitment to ensure they access safe drinking water.
â€œThe issue of water and sanitation is cardinal to my administration. Why should you people suffer with water and yet the Zambezi river is close to you? I will ensure this challenge is addressed by seeing to it that every household has access to clean and piped water,â€ he says.
Mr Lungu implored the people of Chirundu to trust his administration as it will continue constructing roads, schools and hospitals.
He says the Patriotic Front, deserve another term in office it has delivered development.
“I know the challenges of this country as I was Mr Sata’s ‘Chola Boyâ€™â€™ (right hand man).
“UNIP ruled 47 years, MMD 20 years and so why should Zambians change the PF in just five years when we have delivered development?â€ he says.
YANDE SYAMPEYO, Siavonga, Chirundu