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Kabwata residents urge openness on CDF

Constituency service is the general term for what members of Parliament (MP) do to serve and represent the interests of their constituents. The Sunday Mail introduces a column dubbed ‘Constituency Watch’ to show the capacity of parliamentarians to deliver outside Parliament. CHRISTINE CHISHA takes a look at Kabwata constituency:
IT is an accepted reality that with every ballot cast, come expectations of financial support for homes, school fees, funerals and other social welfare by voters in various constituencies.
An MP must therefore not spend all his time in Parliament but must also work hard at ensuring that resources are acquired, through the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), and prudently used to meet the expectations of his constituents.
In Kabwata constituency while a mother is crying for a health facility with a maternity ward, a man in Chilenje is looking for better roads; more presence of police posts and a youth in Libala South is hunting for a job and demanding industries to cushion the high demand for jobs.
“We are calling for transparency in how the CDF is disbursed in Kabwata and more inclusiveness from us the constituents. We also need a breakdown of how the CDF has been utilised since our area Member of Parliament (MP) Given Lubinda took over as MP in 2002,” said a Kabwata resident, Zuwa Sinkamba.
Mr Sinkamba said he believes information on how CDF is spent should be made available to all constituents so that residents could give valuable input in future.
He acknowledged never hearing of a public forum called by either the area MP or his councillors to engage Kabwata residents on how the CDF should be utilised.
Mr Sinkamba who is National Restoration Party Kabwata Constituency Chairman suggested markets and bus stations as places for holding such discussions.
He however expressed happiness at the security presence in the area: “Though we are still in need of more police stations, security in the area has improved and petty thieving has reduced”.
He further highlighted the improved road infrastructure especially the ring-roads in the constituency.
Peggy Siame, a Chilenje tailor expressed concern about the uncollected garbage, unsanitary conditions in markets, dilapidated and undeveloped social amenities and the unprecedented increase of bars.
She urged councillors to engage market committees and other community leaders on how to improve sanitation in markets.
Mrs Siame said Mr Lubinda has made an attempt to engage his constituents but that he needs help from other stakeholders because he cannot do it alone.
And Alex Banda, a youth of Libala South said, “It’s about face time. MPs should always be with constituents, live in the constituency and be part and parcel of their community. You can bring development but if they don’t see you, then electors will not remember.”
He said Given Lubinda is a good MP who debates well in Parliament but has forgotten the high level of unemployment affecting the youths of Kabwata.
“We want jobs, better industries and better still, guidance on how to apply for a share of the Youth Development Fund so that we can set up our own small businesses,” Mr Banda said.
He said the most available job in Kabwata is working in a bar or night club which is not good for a young person who wants a better and sustainable job.
Mr Banda said youths in Kabwata constituency expect more and expressed confidence that the area MP has the capacity to address their concerns in the next two years.
“We do not want money for drinking beer, feasts or to be used during political campaigns. We want to be empowered, assisted with education, and direction on how to write proposals to secure funds to start income generating projects,” he said.
Kabwata MP, Mr Lubinda said he has never missed an opportunity to highlight issues of concern that affect his constituency.
“The affinity I have with the people of Kabwata constituency is amazing, I am at home amongst them because my struggle is their struggle,” he said.
And Mr Lubinda’s professional assistant Rachel Muvumba said the area MP has been transparent in the distribution of the CDF and this could be seen from the many developmental projects undertaken in the area.
She said five police posts are under construction while two have been completed and are in use.
All the police posts will be named after former Kabwata MPs. The two in operation are Mary Mwango in Chilenje South and Maxwell Sibongo in Kamwala South.
The others will be the Godfrey Miyanda in Hill view Park which is expected to be completed in March this year, the Richard Kachingwe police post in Kabwata, and the  Michael Chilufya Sata police post in Kamulanga whose construction has stalled because of a land dispute.
Apart from building police posts, plans are underway to upgrade Chilenje clinic into a mini- hospital and Kamwala clinic is under construction. Land is also being sought for a clinic in Libala and Kabwata.
“We want more health facilities in the area to help decongest the University Teaching Hospital (UTH),” she said.
Ms Muvumba said the construction of township roads as well as modernising the Kabwata market, construction of a market in Kamulanga ward and a recreation centre for youths is underway.
She said the projects have stalled because of the Ministry of Lands’ delay in finalising the land acquisition process.
Ms Muvumba said for the clinics, the Ministry of Health will be engaged after land is acquired or a house is bought which will be turned into a health facility.
She appealed to youths and women clubs to seek help from the constituency office if they need help on how to write proposals or need recommendation letters to have access to youth and women empowerment funds from government.
Ms Muvumba said Mr Lubinda is committed to leaving Kabwata constituency a better place than he found it when he became MP.
Facts about Kabwata
Current MP – Given Lubinda
Elected: 2002
Estimated population: 476,596 (2010 census)

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