CHAMBO NGâ€™UNI, Kabwe
FOLLOWING the successful filing of nomination papers on May 30, 2016 by two parliamentary candidates, the political temperature in Kabwe Central Constituency has reached a crescendo.
It is a two-horse race, involving Tutwa Ngulube of the Patriotic Front (PF) and MacDonald Mwamba of the United Party for National Development (UPND).
In fact, the race in this cosmopolitan constituency in Central Provinceâ€™s capital should have attracted five candidates.
An independent candidate Hagar Tembo was not allowed to file his nomination papers because he arrived at Kabwe Civic Centre at 16:30 hours when the nomination centre had closed.
On the other hand, the Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) and Green Party rescinded their earlier decisions to field parliamentary candidates in the area, and these developments left Mr Ngulube and Mr Mwamba to vie for the seat.
Kabwe Central Constituency is made up of 12 wards and the area has a population of 118,638 out of which 61,215 are females and 57,424 are males.
According to the Central Statistics 2010 census of population and housing, Chirwa ward has the highest population at 26,987 people, followed by Luangwa and Kaputula wards with the population of 16,005 and 13,084 respectively.
Luansase ward has the lowest population of 3,004.
As at January 20, 2015 when Zambia held a presidential election following the death of President Michael Sata, Kabwe Central Constituency had 51,120 registered voters.
Mr James Kapyanga was the first PF member of Parliament (MP) in the constituency after he won the seat during the 2011 tripartite elections.
Mr Kapyanga took over from MMDâ€™s Kayula Kakusa and he served from 2011 to 2016.
Mr Kapyanga and former Kabwe district commissioner Patrick Chishala were among five PF members who applied for adoption for the August 11 general elections but the ruling party settled for Mr Ngulube.
Mr Ngulube, a businessman and lawyer, is upbeat that he would emerge victorious after August 11.
On the other hand, Mr Mwamba says he is up to the task of representing the people of Kabwe in the constituency and victory is in sight for him.
Mr Ngulube, whom Vice-President Inonge Wina describes as a hardworking younger man, says for a very long time, Kabwe Central Constituency has lagged behind even when government has provided resources.
â€œWe want to make sure that the people of Kabwe have the benefit of their vote. The people should receive the benefit of what they deserve,â€ Mr Ngulube, who started his campaigns last year says.
Mr Ngulube says the constituency has lagged in terms of infrastructure development, economic growth, empowerment of women and youths and effective representation.
Mr Ngulube is concerned about the poor state of the road network, and this has affected the well-being of the constituency.
Provision of adequate safe water in areas where there is no piped water is one of the top priorities when he is elected.
Mr Ngulube says sinking of boreholes will be one way of addressing the shortage of water in the constituency.
â€œWe have a calendar of what we want to do. People need good roads and adequate water,â€ Mr Ngulube says, adding that he will build on what Mr Kapyanga has done.
While acknowledge that some people live in poverty, he will work to ensure that women and youths access economic empowerment funds which they can use to improve their livelihood.
â€œItâ€™s my job to make sure that even the empowerment funds for our youths and the empowerment funds for women and social cash transfer money that government has given us reach the people,â€ he says.
In terms of health, Mr Ngulube says the health of the people is very important which is why he will see to it that more health facilities are built so that people will be to access health care services within a short distance.
He says he is already helping to expand Poleni Clinic so that people receive health care services in a better environment.
In addition to this, Mr Ngulube says he will help in the construction of an under five clinic ward, a motherâ€™s shelter and a better ART clinic which is user friendly.
â€œWe all need to contribute in improving the delivery of health services in our communities,â€ he says.
Mr Ngulube says President Lungu is the most popular presidential candidate in Kabwe Central Constituency and he will win with a landslide victory.
He says in last five years of the PFâ€™s governance Zambia witnessed the construction and upgrade of roads, schools and health institutions among other development.
â€œSo as a member of Parliament, I will be the link between the people and Government,â€ Mr Ngulube says.
His rival, Mr Mwamba says he knows how to be an effective representative of the people.
Mr Mwamba, who was elected Luansase ward councillor in 2011 on the MMD was elected deputy Mayor of Kabwe in 2014 and he served up to 2016 when the civic year came to an end.
Mr Mwamba, who says he joined politics in 1991 and was a member of the MMD for many years, says he has lived in Kabwe for many years and he knows that poverty is among the major challenges in Kabwe Central Constituency.
â€œI have always wanted to represent the best wishes and aspirations of the people of Kabwe,â€ Mr Mwamba says.
â€œIn Kabwe, more than half of the population is wallowing in poverty. Poverty is the biggest challenge that we have in the constituency.â€
He also says the constituency needs a good road network, a modern district hospital, which will help in decongesting Kabwe General Hospital, industries, better markets and investments in different areas.
â€œThere is also need for abundant clean water for people as well as good sanitation, especially in peri urban areas,â€ Mr Mwamba said.
Mr Mwamba believes that the constituency needs servanthood kind of leadership and this is the kind of leaders that he will provide when elected.
He also says that he values the power of team and when he is elected, he will embrace everyone and engaged different stakeholders in transforming the constituency into a better area.
â€œIf we come together, we will be able to set up achievable goals to promote development and service provision to our people,â€ Mr Mwamba said.
1981-1991: late Wilfred Wonani (UNIP)
1991 to 1996 : late Paul Tembo (MMD)
1996 to 2000 : Austin Chewe (INDEPENDENT)
2001 to 2006: Patrick Musonda
2006 to 2011: Kayula Kakusa (MMD)
2011 to 2016: James Kapyanga (PF)
CHAMBO NGâ€™UNI, Kabwe