CHISHALA MUSONDA, Ndola
SLIGHTLY after 09:00 hours on February 10 this year, the chopper carrying President Lungu touched down at Murundu Primary School playground in Mufulira, close to the Mokambo border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), to mark a momentous visit of a sitting head of State. “Ifyo umufyashi afwile alechita ifi (This is what a father needs to do),” Prisca Chanda, 39, a marketeer at Mokambo, said.
It is important, Ms Chanda said, for the President, as a father of the nation, to make frequent visits to as many parts of Zambia as possible to gather first-hand information on challenges affecting the people.
A resident of Mokambo since birth, Ms Chanda could not hide her joy because it was the first time she was seeing a serving President of Zambia set foot on the road leading to the Pedicle Road in the DRC.
Relating it to a home situation, she said it was imperative that parents pay regular visits to their children to familiarise themselves with their living conditions.
The planned countrywide tour by the President started with three days of inspecting projects and visits to different parts of the Copperbelt.
“Like a parent in a home, he should visit the children and appreciate how they live,” Ms Chanda said, and went on: “Ndi ne nsansa sana (I’m very happy).”
She said former President Fredrick Chiluba was only spotted in the area when he was crossing the border en route to Luapula Province and his home village, Musangu. President Michael Sata, she recalls, visited Mokambo before he ascended to power.
George Kapalu, 21, and Caroline Chungu, 22, both sales assistants at a Mataba Milling Company outlet, noted the good works on the Pedicle Road, saying people would be more pleased if the Mokambo-Mufulira road was expeditiously worked on.
“It is commendable that Government has worked on the Pedicle road and it is also a good thing that President Lungu has visited Mokambo,” Mr Kapalu said.
“If they can work and rehabilitate the Mokambo-Mufulira road, it is going to be a good thing,” Ms Chungu said.
Inyatsi Construction Limited has been engaged to reconstruct the Ndola-Mufulira-Mokambo road and construction works are underway.
The 65km Ndola-Mufulira road and the 10km Mufulira-Mokambo road will cost K701. 9 million It is a strategic link between the Copperbelt and Luapula provinces.
During his time at Mokambo, President Lungu inspected the 28 newly-built two and three-bedroom houses for immigration and police officers which have been constructed by Avic International. He said Government was building a further 12,000 houses countrywide for officers under the Ministry of Home Affairs.
“No one will be left out,” President Lungu told the gathering.
Mr Lungu said an officer coming from a decent dwelling will, without doubt, be motivated to execute his duties diligently. The President also said that Government will upgrade immigration offices and the police station in the area.
After concluding his stopover at Mokambo, the President took a 10km drive into Mufulira and inspected Kamuchanga and Buseko markets and ordered the resumption of stalled construction works at Kamuchanga market.
Mr Lungu also made a stopover in Kalulushi where he commissioned the K20 million-Zambia Forestry and Forest Industry Corporation (ZAFFICO) pole treatment plant. The plant, which is expected to produce 14,000 poles per annum, will create 500 permanent and part-time jobs.
President Lungu said the Rural Electrification Authority (REA), Zamtel Limited and Zesco Limited should stop importing poles but rather buy the commodities from ZAFFICO to help sustain the company and consequently develop the nation.
“This demonstrates the Patriotic Front government’s committed drive to transforming the country into an industrial hub which will create the much needed jobs, especially for the youth,” he said.
The President stated that the pole treatment plant will make the country self-reliant because it has the capacity to meet the national demand for poles.
And this was echoed by Karen Mumba, a resident of Kalulushi who said local firms will now have access to cheaper poles.
She said when people buy goods from Zambian companies, it is good for economic growth because the money remains in the country.
Another Kalulushi resident, Mwimba Bwalya, said the establishment of a ZAFFICO plant will create job opportunities and improve the standards of living in the district.
“I am very delighted to see that the plant has been commissioned because it will help to create jobs for the local people,” he said.
Mr Bwalya said the opening of a company in a town where job opportunities are rare shows Government’s commitment to bettering human welfare.
Eleven Copperbelt Province chiefs witnessed the ceremony.
It was during this tour that President Lungu urged the local authorities to speed up the US$105 million water supply and sanitation project in Ndola.
He also commissioned the construction of the party offices in Ndola and held rallies.
CHISHALA MUSONDA, Ndola