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Who will grab Bwana Mkubwa?

CHISHALA MUSONDA, Ndola
LIKE much of the Copperbelt which depended on the mining industry to thrive, Bwana Mkubwa, a Swahili name which means ‘Big Boss’, was affected by the economic transformation of the 90s which led to the privatisation of State enterprises.
Bwana Mkubwa, from which this Ndola constituency borrows its name, is Zambia’s oldest mine on the Copperbelt.
There are several versions of how the name came about with most saying the area must have been called so after a native commissioner who the locals called Bwana Mkubwa.
Indeed, so much has happened in Bwana Mkubwa since mining started in 1902. But like most constituencies, the residents are hoping that its fortunes will improve sooner rather than later.
This is a constituency made up of mostly peri-urban and urban dwellers. It is these people that Deborah Tsenji of the Forum for Democracy and Development), Richard Kangwa (Rainbow Party), Jonas Chanda (Patriotic Front) and Bryan Sikalubya (United Party for National Development – UPND)
Dr Jonas Chanda (PF)  – PF are courting for a vote in the August 11 general elections.
They are hoping to replace Emmanuel Chenda as the area member of Parliament.
However, their fate lies in the hands of the 43, 695 registered voters in the constituency.
Dr Chanda is concerned about the state of roads in Bwana Mkubwa and wants them improved to ease the movement of people and goods from one area to the other.
The cardinal issue, he says, is to start with making the gravel roads passable for vehicles before they are eventually upgraded to bituminous standards.
He notes that once the road network is properly done, productivity in the area will be enhanced.
As a health practitioner, he is equally keen to improve the health infrastructure in the area.
“If you compare Bwana Mkubwa with the other constituencies in Ndola, it is behind in development. [But] paradoxically, it is hosting the industries in Ndola, so what we want to do is to focus on development and we to start with the basics and we will start with health,” he says.
Dr Chanda cites the case of Mushili ward, which has 25, 000 registered voters but has no health facility, resulting in people in the area walking or driving some kilometres to Masala and Lubuto townships where the nearest clinics are to seek medical care.
Water and sanitation is another area he intends to address, noting that poor water supply coupled with blocked drainages and sewer endangers people’s lives.
Dr Chanda, 44, who trained as a medical doctor at the University of Zambia after attending Masala Primary and Secondary School, had applied to contest the Bwana Mkubwa seat in 2011 but was not adopted.
Bryan Sikalubya – UPND
Mr Sikalubya, who did part of his secondary education at the famed Canisius Secondary School in Monze but completed at Namianga Christian School in Kalomo, which is his home town, in 1999, is promising to reduce poverty levels in the constituency if elected.
He wants the enhancement of farming as part of the Bwana Mkubwa area is ideal for agriculture activities. The Munkulungwe and Fatima Farm Bloc on either side of the Kapiri Mposhi highway are potential areas Mr Sikalubya notes could be tapped in by empowering people and encouraging them to turn to agriculture in a bid to improve their living conditions.
He was driven into politics after observing the challenges the farming community in the area faced.
“There is need to come up with fresh ways of doing things to help the people and this is why I decided to join politics, to alleviate the suffering of the people of Bwana Mkubwa,” Mr Sikalubya says.
He says he has international connections which he wants to use by bringing foreign investment in the area which in turn will benefit the people of Bwana Mkubwa.
Mr Sikalubya spent seven years in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Soon after secondary school, he was recruited by Swift Freight International of the UAE and was based in Dubai in charge of Africa and the Far East before he moved to head an office in Angola in 2009.
“After a year in Angola, I was then sent to Nigeria to open another office but I decided to come home and set up my own business. Freight and forwarding is my main business, and I’m an agent for several international companies,” the 36-year-old says.
He was born in 1980.
Deborah Tsenji – FDD
The only woman in the contest, Ms Tsenji has pledged to work for the people in the communities having lived in Ndeke township for 30 years.
She also says it is time for the women to be given an opportunity to take up leadership and steer the country to another level of development.
“Men have been there before, I ask voters to this time vote for a woman as I will be able to bring the development that is required by the people. Voters should also vote for president Edith Nawakwi as everyone knows that women are caring,” says the 42-year-old, who went to Ndeke Primary School and completed her secondary education at Caritas.
“People should try the FDD, men have been there before so it are time for the women.”
She says if elected, she will ensure that water and sanitation is improved and health facilities are brought closer to the people.
“In Ndeke, there is a clinic with no maternity wing and this is not good for expectant women. They have to hire vehicles to go to Masala Clinic which is the nearest place to access maternity facilities while in Kavu, there is not school,” Ms Tsenji says.
“I will fight to ensure a mini hospital is built and a school is also constructed. Children in Kavu are forced to walk long distances to school and people should stop drawing water from wells.”
Richard Kangwa – Rainbow
The Rainbow Party is fielding Richard Kangwa, who by press time, was not available for a comment on what he intends to do for the people of Bwana Mkubwa if is elected MP. However, as a party, Rainbow espouses socialist ideals.

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