Features

Chilanga MP pledges to depoliticise CDF

MUKATA

Constituency Watch:
Being nearer to the capital Lusaka, one would think Chilanga Constituency has an advantageous location when it comes to social and economic development. Unfortunately, Chilanga is not different from most constituencies in rural areas and still grapples with high levels of poverty, poor road infrastructure, inadequate health and education facilities. CHRISTINE CHISHA reports:

“Our constituency has no hospital to offer specialist health services to the populace here. Pregnant women for instance have to travel all the way to Lusaka’s University Teaching Hospital (UTH) or Chawama Health Centre or even Kafue District Hospital if they are to have a safe delivery,” these were the sentiments of Mercy Nalwamba clinical officer at Makeni Health Centre.
According to Ms Nalwamba the people of Chilongolo ward mobilised resources and have constructed a maternity wing in their area but to date the facility is not operational due to lack of equipment.
She said there’s need for government to expedite the installation of equipment at the newly-constructed maternity ward if the maternal mortality rate is to reduce in the area.
She said the most affected are the poor who cannot afford transport to get to UTH or Chawama Health Centre and these are the majority in the constituency.
And for Makeni Primary School senior teacher, Honest Chona, the absence of a secondary school in the area is of great concern.
Mr Chona said, Parklands which is the nearest secondary school is situated 18 kilometres away.
“Many parents in the area are farm workers. This means they cannot afford transport money for their children and their kids eventually drop out of school,” he said.
Mr Chona was however grateful to the area member of Parliament Keith Mukata and local authority for releasing funds to construct an ablution block at Makeni Primary School.
Mr Chona said from inception the school did not have an ablution block forcing both teachers and pupils to use pit latrines.
A chat with people entrusted with maintaining law and order in the constituency revealed more challenges the constituency is still grappling with.
Chilanga police officer-in-charge Vwambanji Musamba said their biggest challenge as a police station is inadequate transport.
Mr Musamba said the station only has one vehicle for patrols, administration and transportation of suspects to and from courts.
He said lack of transport has led to a delay in the delivery of justice and has resulted in inefficiency in combating crime especially at night as it is difficult for the police to be in two places at the same time.
“As a station, we have a lot of challenges. Initially, it was the holding cells which fortunately have been constructed through the Constituency Development Fund (CDF). Our biggest challenge now is transport.”
Mr Musamba also appealed for speed humps to avoid accidents which are recorded almost on a daily basis.
Chilanga is situated approximately 21 kilometres south-west of Lusaka with a population of 107,023 according to the 2010 census. In 2011 general elections the people of Chilanga entrusted the constituency in the hands of MMD’s Keith Mukata as member of Parliament.
Mr Mukata who is also newly appointed Deputy Minister of Justice says his vision for the constituency is to improve the living standards of the people by encouraging them to adopt a culture of hard work.
The law-maker says together with councillors, is devising an all-inclusive approach on how to distribute the CDF which has been mismanaged in the past.
“I want to ensure that CDF is depoliticised and caters for projects in the constituency initiated by the communities themselves who are the beneficiaries,” Mr Mukata said.
He said he has realised that there has been a gap in the flow of information between the authorities and the members of the community on how CDF is distributed.
“This year we are going to give K100,000 to each of the six wards under Chilanga constituency for women empowerment programmes. We had a strategic plan meeting with all departments in the district and with the help of Ministry of Commerce and Industries and Central Statistical Office, we were able to identify which ward is poverty-stricken and how they can intervene,” he said.
He said with the information gathered from the strategic plan meeting, officers from some government departments are expected to design models on how they can tackle poverty and come up with sustainable income generating projects.
Through CDF a number of projects have been undertaken in the constituency among them drilling of boreholes, rehabilitation of the Makeni police post and construction of some cells, and a tuberculosis wing at Makeni Heath Centre.
Mr Mukata also said through CDF, road equipment has been acquired and roads are now maintained regularly.
Recently 60 second-hand computers were acquired to be distributed to schools in the area after the Ministry of Education introduced computer science from grade eight.
With the help of the World Bank (WB), dams are under construction for easy irrigation in the constituency says Mr Mukata.
According to the law-maker established cooperatives in the constituency have been tasked to help build capacity among community members and instil ownership of the projects being implemented in the area such as bee keeping, piggery, and chicken rearing.
Mr Mukata is however proud of the performance of the 2014 grade seven pupils in his area whose pass rate was high putting the district in the third best position countrywide.
Facts about Chilanga
Current MP: Keith Mukata
Elected: 2011
Estimated population 107,023 (2010 census)


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