Columnists Features

Wanchinga prioritises health, education

DR WANCHINGA addresses members of his constituency.

Focus on Member of Parliament:
CHRISTINE CHISHA, Mwense
THE newly- elected Mambilima MP Dennis Musuku Wanchinga is a think tank who does not blink when he is speaking of what he believes.
He is also a darling of his constituents who, when he passes will shout, ‘Wanchinga Chipolopolo’.
However, Dr Wanchinga is focused on making his constituency a better place.
“My aim is to see Mambilima Constituency transformed and developed with good educational facilities with learners who will have a passion for development, well-served health facilities and good communication.
“And people will say and remember that they once had a committed, passionate member of Parliament (MP) who also brought integrity to politics in the area”.
With a rich educational background, Dr Wanchinga, who is also Minister of General Education, is a scientist specialised in entomology and ecology.
He started his career as a research scientist at the National Council of Scientific Research (NCSR) where he worked for 12 years and moved to SADC Secretariat in Gaborone, Botswana where he worked for seven years.
When he returned to Zambia, he joined the University of Zambia where he taught animal population ecology and invertebrate Zoology. He left the university for a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) project at the Ministry of Tourism where he assisted to develop a project on Zambia’s protected areas.
Dr Wanchinga was later appointed Chief Executive Officer of the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) before he retired to set up base in the hospitality business.
His interest in politics goes back to the days he was still working. “Every person is a political animal the difference is the matter of degree”, he says.
Injustice even in his secondary school days at Kawambwa Boys, is a vice he abhorred and that drove him into politics.
On his interest to stand in Mambilima, Dr Wanchinga said after seeing a gap and the need to provide leadership in the constituency, he decided to stand as MP. In 2011, he had applied to stand in Mwense Constituency under the Patriotic Front (PF) and he was not adopted.
“I was not discouraged even when I was not adopted, I continued supporting the party, visiting Mwense district while running Grand Palm Lodges based in Lusaka and Mwense,” he said.
This year, Dr Wanchinga applied to stand in Mambilima constituency in Mwense district and won.
Mambilima Constituency has eight wards though it lacks development in most sectors. The MP has since come up with a master plan to develop the area and his priority will be education, health, water and sanitation, youth and women empowerment.
Education
As government policy to ensure that no pupil walks more than five kilometres to reach a learning institution, Dr Wanchinga said there is need for two more secondary school in the constituency.
The MP also wants to lobby his ministry so that community schools in the area are upgraded to primary school level while basic schools are upgraded to secondary schools.
“I will also ensure that the local area learners from the schools in the constituency develop interest in science and mathematics. I believe to develop an area or nation, citizens must be learned in certain specialities were they came come with innovation, “he said.
In 2009, the MP helped a school in Mwense where he did his primary school to build a science laboratory.
He is happy that Government, through the Ministry of Youth and Sports will construct a skills training development centre in the district though one is not enough.
Health
Since being elected MP, he has been lobbying Ministry of Health to turn the biggest hospital in his constituency, Mambilima Mission Hospital into a full-fledged hospital.
“I am happy that the ministry has agreed to upgrade the mission to a second level hospital and they are working on modalities. Am also happy that a number of health posts Government is building under the 630 are completed though others are still under construction,” he said.
Dr Wanchinga is concerned about the low staffing levels in the health centres and he will continue asking the Ministry of Health for more staff.
Water and Sanitation
Access to clean and safe drinking water cannot be over emphasise as a prerequisite for keeping waterborne diseases at bay.
Dr Wanchinga plans to drill more boreholes in the villages and lobby water companies to connect houses to piped water and improve water supply in the area.
For now, residents cover walk long distances to fetch water from Luapula River which for most of the time, is not treated.
Tourism
The constituency is home to Musonda Falls, Mambilima water rapids and beautiful land scape with rich cultural background which has not be exploited.
The MP wants to build and encourage other Zambians to build resorts on the river front to attract both local and international tourists.
“We can also utilise the Mutomboko ceremony to have people stay longer in Mambilima and visit tourist sites in the area,” he said.
Dr Wanchinga said once the tourism sector in the area is fully developed, it can create employment for people in the constituency.
Youth and Women Empowerment
The MP has encouraged women and youths in the area to form clubs and come up with income-generating projects.
Dr Wanchinga said, “Fishing is in the blood of most people in my constituency, I want to encourage both youths and women to venture into fish farming and see if they can also start other projects through their clubs such as beekeeping, poultry and piggery production”.
The constituency abounds in mangoes, especially this season and the MP wants a canning industry to add value by converting the fruit into juice and jam.
Personal life
Dr Wanchinga born 69 years ago, did his primary school in Mwense before proceeding to Kawambwa Boys Secondary School.
He obtained his Bachelor in Science at the University of Zambia and studied his PhD specialising in entomology and ecology in the United States.
A devoted Catholic member, Dr Wanchinga is married with five children.

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