ELIZABETH CHATUVELA, Limulunga
LUENA Constituency is situated in Limulunga district in Western Province and houses the palace for the Litunga, traditional ruler of the Lozi people.
It lies on a high ground at the edge of the Barotse Floodplain of the Zambezi River, about 15 kilometres north of the provincial capital Mongu, and about 21 kilometres east of the main channel of the river.
Despite Luena being the home of the Litunga, the constituency has seen little development, and it is only now that the area is beginning to receive a fair share of development.
Following the declaration of Limulunga as a district, which was previously part of Mongu district, Luena Constituency is seeing new schools and health facilities, among other infrastructure, being constructed.
With 20, 902 registered voters, Luena has previously been represented by members of Parliament (MPs) from UNIP, MMD, United Party for National Development (UPND), an independent, and Alliance for Democracy and Development (ADD).
Some of the past Luena MPs include Mubukwanu Kunyanda (UNIP) Chrispin Sibeta (MMD/UPND), Charles Milupi (Indepentent/ADD) and immediate past parliamentarian Mulumemui Imenda (ADD).
For next monthâ€™s general elections, four people are contesting the parliamentary seat. The candidates are sponsored by the Patriotic Front (PF), UPND and ADD, with one aspirant being independent.
The PF is fielding Kakoma Changano, UPND has David Kundoti, ADD is sponsoring Mubita Anakoka while Likando Sikubeta is standing as an independent candidate.
The constituency which has 11 wards also has high levels of illiteracy probably because there are only two secondary schools, in Limulunga and Nangula wards.
For the last 10 years, ADD has enjoyed massive support from the electorate, but the current situation is equally favouring PF, UPND and independent candidates to win the seat.
Mubita Anakoka – ADD
An accountant, Mr Anakoka is a new comer on the political arena who now wants to contribute to the development of Luena as a parliamentarian.
Mr Anakoka says his leadership will be based on accountability by ensuring, among other things, that the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) is prudently utilised for the benefit of the people of Luena.
â€œAs an accountant, I believe in transparency and I will safeguard the CDF by ensuring that whatever money the constituency office receives is put to good use. I will be watchful and no single coin will go missing,â€ he says.
Mr Anakoka has also pledged to tackle the high unemployment levels in Luena by setting up skills training centres especially for the youth.
He also intends to address the water shortage problem in the constituency.
Mr Anakoka says he will also see to it that Limulunga has necessary signs to show where the Litungaâ€™s palace is, thereby attracting tourists.
â€œAt the moment, there is nothing to show where the palace is, not even at the entrance of the district. However, once voted into office, we will set up necessary sign posts and provide information on the Lozi tradition to attract tourists,â€ he says.
Mr Anakoka says the electorate should vote for candidates on merit and not based on political party affiliation, as anyone can deliver development if they are committed.
Kakoma Changano – PF
A lawyer, Mr Changano says time has come for Luena to embrace change by voting for a person who is standing on the ruling party ticket.
He says his message for the people to vote for a person from the ruling party has been welcomed by majority of the residents he has met while on his campaign trails.
â€œThe people here have seen the need to work with a person who is from the ruling party because of the previous experiences which have not yielded fruits. From what I have gathered on the ground, I can win even if the election was held today,â€ he says.
Mr Changano has pledged to ensure the construction of a good road network in Luena and facilitate improved supply of clean and safe drinking water.
He says Luena Constituency also needs more secondary schools and health facilities to decongest the existing institutions, something he promises to ensure they are built.
â€œHelping farmers to get inputs on time is one of the issues I want to address. You may wish to know that farmers here have not benefitted from governmentâ€™s [farm input] programme because opposition MPs failed to deliver the message,â€ he says.
Mr Changano also says he has managed to correct the negative conception on the referendum which the opposition allegedly created in the area.
David Kundoti – UPND
A former Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation employee, Mr Kundoti says UPND in the area is leaving no stone unturned to get massive votes for the parliamentary seat as well as for its presidential candidate Hakainde Hichilema.
Mr Kundoti says on his facebook page that the people in the area have given him massive support and is confident of winning the seat.
â€œItâ€™s on and we are touching all places so that we get all the needed votes for the 50+1 for our president HH to match into State House without going for a second round and also for my victory as Luena MP,â€ he says.
Likando Sikubeta – Independent
Luena has had an independent candidate in the name of Charles Milupi, before he formed his own party, the ADD.
Based on this background, Mr Sikubeta equally feels he has a chance of scooping the seat as the people of Luena have proved that they can settle for anyone who has packaged the â€˜correctâ€™ message for them.
ELIZABETH CHATUVELA, Limulunga