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Phiri challenges technocrats on housing

MINISTER of Local Government Dr John Phiri speaking during the stakeholders’ meeting for the chiefs to reveal the national housing policy yesterday in Lusaka. With him is his permanent secretary Misheck Lungu (right) and Lusaka Mayor George Nyendwa. PICTURE:COLLINS PHIRI

STEVEN MVULA, Lusaka
MINISTER of Local Government and Housing John Phiri has urged technocrats in his ministry to be practical in addressing Zambia’s housing shortage, especially in rural areas.
Dr Phiri told 20 chiefs in Lusaka yesterday that most technocrats are too academic and that they have failed to ensure that houses are built in rural areas.
“Being a minister is temporary. In fact 2016 is around the corner and we [politicians] will soon start asking and begging for your votes. But being a chief is divine. Chieftaincy comes from God and this is why technocrats must ensure that our chiefs live in good houses,” Dr Phiri said.
The Ministry of Local Government and Housing has organised a meeting for the chiefs to disseminate the national housing policy.
He said it is embarrassing that most chiefs live in deplorable huts when their subjects in towns live in mansions.
“As a civil servant, reflect on what you have done in your village. Let us not abandon our villages. Love your villages. As technocrats, you have the ability to modernise villages,” Dr Phiri said.
He urged Zambians to emulate Batswana or Nigerians, who usually have a house in town as well as in the village.
Dr Phiri said government is aware of Zambia’s housing deficit and urged planning officers to prioritise developing rural areas.
And speaking on behalf of other chiefs, Chief Chipepo appealed to Government to build houses for traditional leaders.

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