Features In focus

Chitambo: historical facts, untapped tourism haven, scenic spots

A CHURCH built by the Presbyterian Church of Scotland in 1908 in honour of David Livingstone. PICTURE: CHAMBO NGUNI

CHITAMBO in Central Province is another district in Zambia tied to the life of David Livingstone apart from Livingstone city.
It is in Livingstone that the Scottish missionary and explorer set his eyes on the Mosi-oa-Tunya (Victoria Falls) on November 16, 1855, and it is in Chitambo where he died on May 1, 1873 at the age of 60.
Until 2012, Chitambo district which draws its name from the Chitambo chiefdom was one of the three constituencies in Serenje.
Muchinka is the other chiefdom in this district which lacks vital infrastructure except for several schools and health centres across it.
A number of civil servants in Chitambo are still residing and working from Serenje.
The district commissioner David Kaseba, however, operates at Chitambo District Hospital where he is accommodated.
Mr Kaseba says people are happy and hopeful that Chitambo which was just a constituency is now a district, especially that Government wants to develop the area.
Mr Kaseba also says Chief Chitambo IV, Chief Muchinka and other stakeholders have resolved their differences on the location of the district administration centre.
“There are no wrangles as such. It’s only that some people in Muchinka want the district administration to be located at Chitambo Hospital,” Mr Kaseba says, adding that the district administration will be built in Lushinga area.
This is an area on the boundary of Chitambo and Muchinka chiefdoms.
Chitambo shares its boundary in the south with Serenje, to the East is Mpika district in Muchinga Province, in West the Democratic Republic of Congo and to the North-West lies Samfya district in Luapula Province.
The boundary between Chitambo and Samfya district lies on the Luapula River where the two districts are connected by Tuta Bridge – a magnificent peace of architectural work.
According to the 2010 Census of Population and Housing, Chitambo district has a population of 48, 871 out of which 24, 051 are males and 24, 810 females.
The district has seven wards, namely Lulimala, Mpelembe, Chipundu, Luombwa, Chalilo, Chitambo and Muchinka which has the largest population of 10, 408.
Mushili Malama of the MMD is Chitambo’s representative in Parliament.
Settlement patterns in this underdeveloped and rural infant district are based on clustered, sporadic and linear.
Lala is the ethnic language, although Bemba has over the years become another mode of communication.
The soil in the district favours the cultivation of crops like maize, cassava, sorghum, finger millet and sweet potatoes.
Many people are peasant farmers; they grow maize through which they have been contributing to the national food basket.
Some people in Chief Chitambo’s area earn a living by fishing.
Chief Chitambo IV is, however, concerned that despite cassava and sorghum grown in abundance in his area, there is no market for the crops.
Chief  Chitambo says, “We need market because we grow a lot of cassava here. We don’t know where to sell it. We should not solely depend on maize”.
And Mr Kaseba says, “Some people are rearing goats but we are also seeing the number of cattle on the increase.”
Chitambo District Hospital built by the Presbyterian Church of Scotland in 1908 is the only hospital in the district.
The district has 10 health centres and Government plans to construct more to make health services more accessible.
Government has also re-opened Chitambo Nursing School at Chitambo District Hospital in a bid to increase training opportunities for nurses in the country.
And in partnership with co-operating partners, a modern infrastructure is being constructed at the nursing school.
Mukando is the only secondary school in the district, and to increase high school places, Mabendi and Mpelembe schools are being upgraded into secondary schools.
The district has 29 primary schools with close to 54 community schools.
Mr Kaseba said Government will construct more primary schools to enable more children access education.
Since Chitambo is where Dr Livingstone died, a memorial monument was erected in his honour at the site were his heart and other internal organs were buried.
Without visiting this national monument, any tourism expedition in retracing Dr Livingstone’s life in Zambia is incomplete.
Kasanka National Park, shared between Chitambo and Serenje is another tourist site where migratory bats gather in large numbers towards the end of October.
The Nsalu Caves located about 30km from the Great North Road is a site for unique stone-age paintings.
Katikulula resettlement scheme is the only such colony in Chitambo and it was established as a sanctuary for blind people and physically challenged people.
And Mr Kaseba says there is need to construct government offices, electrify many parts of the district and improve the road network as part of developing the district.
Television and radio reception as well as mobile phone network remains a challenge in far-flung areas.
“People are hopeful and confident that things will start moving now in terms of development,” an optimistic Mr Kaseba says.

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