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Matero constituency in dawn of development

CONSTITUENCY WATCH with CHRISTINE CHISHA, Lusaka
MENTION Matero and what comes to mind is counterfeit goods and crime. To some, venturing into this constituency, which lies west of Lusaka, evokes fear.
But this is not how the people of Matero view their area. This is evidenced by a huge billboard which greets you as you enter the constituency with words, ‘Welcome to Matero, a place of happy people’ inscribed on it. This is the new tag by which Matero residents want to be known for.
However, this is in spite of many challenges the constituency is faced with such as unemployment, inadequate health facilities, poor water reticulation, poor roads and drainage system, insufficient security, petty crime and rowdy youths among others.
James Kayombo, a Matero resident is concerned about the state of some roads in the constituency.
“Our roads are pathetic. We need proper road infrastructure in the townships and Government should look at this as a priority.
According to Mr Kayombo the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) is not enough to help with road construction because the constituency is vast.
He also says water has been a problem in his area and could not remember when she last accessed piped water.
Mr Kayombo said despite the constituency benefiting from various development projects under the leadership of area member of Parliament Miles Sampa, more still needs to be done especially in the area of garbage collection, water reticulation and road infrastructure.
Another resident Theresa Mungole says there is need to build more police posts and intensify security in the area to curb petty thieving especially in Maiteneke area.
She says while Matero has experienced a reduction in aggravated crimes, petty thieving is still rampant.
She said the poor drainage system and some broken sewers systems pose a danger to the residents’ health.
Ms Mungole, however, commended Mr Sampa for his commitment to develop the constituency.
“Before Mr Sampa, there was little that was happening in the constituency. Matero was known for bad things but now when people talk about a constituency focused on development in Lusaka, they refer to Matero.
“We are the first constituency to have an MP who has formed companies to create employment for the youths,” she said.
Mr Sampa whose favourite quote is “We face neither east nor west, we face forward” by Kwame Nkrumah, committed himself to taking development to Matero when he was elected MP in 2011.
And true to his word Mr Sampa has been one of the outstanding MPs in the PF government in terms of contributing to development even through personal efforts.
Mr Sampa said for the past three years he has been area MP, Kwame Nkrumah’s quote has enabled him and his team to push in for more development despite facing hurdles along the way.
“My promise to the Matero people is to leave it better. I want to be remembered as an MP who left no area in Matero underdeveloped. As a child of the soil I want the significance of Matero’s contribution to the history of Zambia to be upheld,” he said.
Matero made significant contribution to Zambia’s politics. Prior to independence Matero became the seat of political struggle and it still bears the marks of that era.
“I have used my mid-term gratuity to launch a metro cab company and handed out taxis to youths and have launched the Association of Matero Constituency Company to create the much-needed employment for youths,” Mr Sampa, who is also deputy minister of Commerce and Industries, said.
Apart from using his mid-term gratuity and CDF, Mr Sampa has partnered with donors, the business world to take development to his constituency.
In the health sector, the area MP was instrumental in the provision of medical personnel and medical facilities in the area by engaging the Cabinet office to provide required job requisitions.
Commendable progress has also been recorded in the construction of Chunga clinic, which is expected to be completed in the next three months.
In the education sector, Mr Sampa, with the help of Total Zambia, Airtel, British Council, MTN, Finance Bank and minister of Finance and National Development Alexander Chikwanda, launched computer labs in six schools in his constituency.
Under the CDF, money has been released to women and youth groups in the constituency.
To increase safety among road users in the area, speed humps and traffic signs in identified high traffic areas have been strategically placed.
In a bid to enhance security, the MP said: “We have completed and commissioned a new police post and two police accommodation structures in Mulongoti,” Mr Sampa said.
In the area of housing, sewerage network in Maiteneke has been rehabilitated and the installations upgraded.
Pit latrines have also been upgraded to pedestal toilets and new manholes have been built to enhance the maintenance of the sewerage system. This project cost Government K5.3 million.
In Matero township various problematic sections of the sewerage system has been improved while in George compound a borehole has been constructed to improve water supply.
Mr Sampa said the borehole will be commissioned after power connection, adding that the project cost K500.
A new water network in Matero has also been constructed to connect 200 properties to the water supply system and in phase two of Madimba 150 properties have been connected to the newly-built water supply system.
To keep constituents especially youths fit and entertained three two-in-one basketball courts have been constructed in the area.
The refurbishment of Matero Stadium has been completed and a new gym at the arena has been completed and is operational.
Despite the many achievements recorded in three years, Mr Sampa said the constituency is still battling with a number of challenges including pollution from the Chunga dumpsite.
He said a solution is yet to be found on how to deal with the dumpsite in Chunga as well as solid waste management and indiscriminate garbage disposal by residents. He, however, said talks are underway with the Lusaka City Council.
Mr Sampa said despite increasing the number of medical personnel, the constituency still begs for more to correspond to the number of health facilities and population.
He said some roads, including Buyantanshi and Mungwi roads, need to be worked on because they have been damaged by heavy trucks.
Mr Sampa is also not amused by the unending wrangles at Buseko Market, which have been compounded by marketeers sleeping in makeshift structures within the trading area.
He said lack of land where houses could be constructed and new health posts is another challenge in his constituency.
Mr Sampa, who says he still has energy to add value and bring more development to Matero, added that he will recontest his seat in 2016.
Matero residents admit that their MP is hard working and has implemented numerous projects from the time he was elected into office.
However the Matero residents’ only complaint is that there is no collaboration between them and the constituency office.
A Matero resident Davies Mbulo said there is need for the MP’s office to sensitise community members on how they can get involved in projects.
“We want to be consulted by our area MP on priority areas that we need attention. We appreciate his works but the input of us community members will give us a sense of ownership,” Mr Mbulo said.
Meanwhile, Matero Constituent Development Trust chairperson Jairos Siame has urged the youths to take keen interest in applying for the Youth development fund for them to start businesses.
Mr Siame said youths can invest in the collection of plastic bottles and sell them to recycling companies outside the country.




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