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Liomba: Driving development in Western Province

WESTERN Province permanent secretary Mwangala Liomba (left) with Deputy Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services Forrie Tembo in Mongu recently.

RECENTLY elevated to the helm of the civil service in Western Province, Mwangala Liomba is on a mission to make Government more visible and help change the people’s perception.
Permanent secretary since February 26 this year when he was appointed, Mr Liomba says civil servants, public service workers and traditional authorities should have a different view of Government.
For a region which is receiving unprecedented attention from Government, Mr Liomba is justified in his efforts to help change the mindset of the people in the country’s least developed province.
Since 2011 when the Patriotic Front (PF) formed Government, the province has received unprecedented attention to the extent that it has become a huge construction site.
Late President Sata created nine districts to take service delivery closer to the people and create jobs, thereby reduce poverty.
Western Province is the biggest beneficiary in terms of decentralisation.
“And we will remain indebted,” Mr Liomba said.
The creation of Limulunga, Luampa, Mitete, Mulobezi, Mwandi, Nalolo, Nkeyema, Sikongo and Sioma districts is designed to spur infrastructure development.
Mr Liomba said this will take development closer to the people.
With district administration offices, post offices, civic centres, police stations and houses being built in the new districts, Mr Liomba said his role is to ensure that Government’s development agenda is realised and the much talked-about poverty reduced.
“The government has also made a step further to try and accelerate development and reduce poverty by creating districts so that civil servants and other public workers can provide services to the people at their doorstep,” Mr Liomba said.
“We are here to see to it that the vision [of development and poverty reduction] is realised.”
He wants all the players involved in the implementation of government projects to be hands-on and be pro-active.
“Government projects are focusing on poverty reduction, we do not take pride in talking about poverty in Western Province. It is something we regret but it can be done away with over time,” Mr Liomba said.
He says Government, civil society and civil servants should work together in fostering development and that construction works in the new districts are at different stages.
There is also the Mongu-Kalabo road, which is the region’s flagship infrastructure project, with 25 bridges being built across the plain currently at various levels towards completion.
The main bridge across the Zambezi River is also under construction.
The estimated completion date for the project, promising an international standard road, is April 2016.
Mr Liomba said apart from the township roads in Mongu town, Government is constructing the Sioma-Maziba Bridge which will connect Senanga district on the eastern bank of the Zambezi River to Sioma.
To further land-link the province for development, Government has constructed a 70-kilometre Sesheke-Sioma road to facilitate movement of goods and services between Sesheke, Sioma, Senanga and Shangombo.
It connects the road to the M10 trunk road, which links Livingstone to Mongu.
Other projects taking place in the province include nursing schools, secondary schools and a stadium.
Government is currently constructing the Matebele-Shangombo road under the Link Zambia 8000 project.
Mr Liomba acknowledged the horrible state of the Katunda-Lukulu road, having lived in Lukulu where he served as district administrative officer for eight years.
“Right now, the RDA (Road Development Agency) is on site to work on the worst stretches from Lukulu to Katunda road.
On the Kaoma-Kasempa road, Mr Liomba said there should have been construction taking place.
“RDA procures everything from Lusaka, they just give us the work plan,” he said.
Government is building a nursing school in Senanga, a district hospital and a stadium in Mongu.
There is also the King Lewanika University to be built, so is a college of science and technology in Nalolo.
Both await ground breaking.
A boarding school in Lukulu awaits completion while Mayukwa secondary school and Nakanya in Nalikwanda Constituency will be built.
Mr Liomba said once the Kalabo-Mongu road is completed, Government will start upgrading the Mulamba Harbour, the country’s second biggest inland port and the gateway to Kalabo and Angola.
Mr Liomba said Sioma district has been connected to the national electricity grid while others are being connected with the help of the Rural Electrification Authority.
With all these projects taking place designed to change the face of Western Province and improving people’s lives, Mr Liomba said it is only fair that people there change their perception of the government.
Mr Liomba, who was sworn in on March 13, advises civil servants to be non-partisan and support the government of the day.
“We are trying to put our feet down together with my minister [Poniso Njeulu] to reposition our province in light of what is happening [the development programmes]. Those who have eyes are able to see what Government is doing,” Mr Liomba says.

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