Columnists Features

Margaret Msimuko: Lundazi council chairperson

HAD she not attended school, Margaret Mkandawire Msimuko, 56, could not have been the first female council chairperson in the Eastern Province.
In the first place, she could not have been elected had she failed to produce a grade 12 certificate as required by the constitution in the August 11 general elections.
Her story is a consistent reminder to many girls and women that education pays and society will always respect those that have been to school.
Mrs Msimuko says she first became a leader when she became school sports captain while in grade seven at Kasenje Primary School in Kafue in 1977.
She did her junior secondary education at Naboye Secondary School in Kafue from 1978 to 1979. Afterwards, she went to Lundazi Secondary School where she was first selected as a school prefect and later head girl in 1982.
“That time, I was young but people saw potential and good qualities of a leader in me and did not look at my age,” she says.
She recalled that during her youth, people still preferred her to lead them in different discussions and she never let them down.
Mrs Msimuko says she has lived a life full of wishes and she is never at peace when things in society are not improving.
This prompted her to become an advocate after her secondary school and devoted her time working in the non-governmental world helping the vulnerable in society.
Her base is Lundazi District Council where she is the chairperson on the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) ticket.
She is relatively new in politics.
“I joined politics in 2014 and become an active PF member in 2015 and this year, I am the chairperson for Lundazi Council,” she says.
“I still believe that I was born as a leader, only that there is time for everything and the time has come for me to lead the people.”
As a Christian, she is thankful to God for letting her childhood dream of leading others come true at the age of 56 despite her earlier aspiration of wanting to become a member of Parliament.
And as a woman of faith, she believes that if God does not build, all those who build labour in vain.
“I believe that one is either born or chosen to become a leader, but all it requires is to wait patiently for that particular leadership to manifest because God’s time is the best,” she says.
Mrs Msimuko is a member of the Church of Central African Presbyterian and national secretary for the women’s fellowship as well as an executive member for the Synod of Zambia.
She is also an experienced social worker who served in various portfolios including that of Thandizani Gender and Development focal point person and Young Women Christian Association’s (YWCA) drop-in centre as a district coordinator/psychosocial counsellor for four years from 1996 to 2000.
Mrs Msimuko has a certificate in Public and Social Accountability Monitoring (PSAM) from University of Pretoria; certificate in Policy Formulation, Influencing and Implementation from the Zambia Governance Foundation; certificate in Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission from Chainama College of Health Sciences.
Other certificates are in counselling, leadership development, business planning and basic finance, basic computer skills training, gender and paralegal.
Mrs Msimuko is indeed committed to community work.
She has since formulated her own personal vision statement to help her develop the district.
“With good governance and in collaboration with reliable stakeholders, develop Lundazi district at all levels to become one of the municipal councils in the province,” her vision statement reads.
For the people of Lundazi, says: “I will not leave anyone behind in my developmental agenda, be it a man, woman or youth.”
She says she will anchor her development agenda on the PF’s 2016-2021manifesto.
She says together with her team at the council, key priority areas include ensuring a new district hospital is completed soon and more health posts built. In the education sector, the uncompleted new training institute will be done and additional secondary schools built. In the agriculture sector, cooperatives will be functional while the timely delivery of farming inputs as well as equipping farmers with new farming methods will be prioritised.
Regarding energy, the district will be connected to the national grid while promoting the rural electrification programme which is already underway.
“Under infrastructure development, Government will tar the Lundazi-Chama road and Mfuwe-Mpika road connecting Muchinga and Northern provinces. Water and sanitation, both in the rural and urban areas, will be improved,” she says.
“Illegal plot allocation will be discouraged but the Keep Lundazi Clean campaign will be re-launched and promoted while the Constituency Development Funds (CDF) will be managed prudently.”

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