BENEDICT TEMBO, Mongu
MONGU Mayor Kusiyo Akayombokwa believes that the Western Province administrative capital deserves to be conferred city status in recognition of the efforts made by local people in developing the area.
Mr Akayombokwa says unlike other towns which benefitted from the colonial legacy, Mongu has largely been developed by local people.
“Most of the buildings in Mongu were put up by indigenous people,” he says.
Mr Akayombokwa is of the view that following the massive developments the district has witnessed, Mongu should be conferred city status.
Mongu Municipal Council has since applied for consideration for the city status, with Mr Akayombokwa stating that the Litunga, King of the Lozi people, has since been informed about the bid.
“Mongu deserves to be granted city status. The attainment of the city status is the prerogative of the President,” Mr Akayombokwa says.
Justifying reasons for Mongu to be granted city status, Mr Akayombokwa says apart from the massive developments the town has witnessed, it was the heart of the one-time Barotseland before 1964.
In recent years, Mongu has seen massive developments such as the majestic Mongu-Kalabo road which towers over the Zambezi River and Barotse plains. Township roads have equally been tarred.
Mongu has a population of 191,845, of which 55,635 are urban and 136,210 are rural (2010 census).
About 14.8 of the district’s urban road network is tarred, while the 16.2km Mongu-Limulunga road awaits construction.
The contractor, Avic International, had already mobilised on site but has not started work because Government only released K6 million from the required K20 million down payment required to start the work.
Other roads earmarked for rehabilitation include the 1km Libonda Road and the 1.9km Lyambai Road.
The construction of the Mongu-Limulunga road will ease communication between the two districts, while trade and mobility will improve greatly.
Mongu boasts of a cathedral and a number of upcoming hotels, though still at lodge level.
Its hospitality sector boasts of one hotel (Ngulu), 12 lodges, four motels and 26 guest houses, including council-owned Sir Mwanawina III Motel located in the Winela area, west of Mongu town, off the Limulunga Road.
Mongu Town Clerk Shilla Songolo notes that the construction of hotels, lodges and guest houses is on the rise due to the rising demand for bed space in the district.
To facilitate the growth of the hospitality sector, Mongu is expected to host the West Expo to showcase the investment potential of the province in general and Mongu in particular.
Mongu has one general hospital-Lewanika General Hospital- offering first-level referral services while Mongu District Hospital is also in place.
The district has 11 secondary schools and seven tertiary institutions, which include one private university, the Barotse University, while a public university, King Lewanika is under construction.
Mongu has nine banks namely Zanaco, Barclays Bank, Indo-Zambia Bank, National Savings and Credit Bank (Natsave), Investrust, Standard Charterd Bank, Atlas Mara, and Zambia National Building Society (ZNBS).
The district has one shopping mall – the Barotse Mall -comprising the anchor store Shoprite and attendant shops such as Hungry Lion and 15 others.
Mongu has 3,000 properties with rateable value of K2.5 million.
WATER AND SANITATION
The district is serviced by 12 boreholes drilled along the plain edge north of Mongu hilltop while two boreholes are situated at Wenela water works.
Currently, there is a project under design funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB) to tap water from the Zambezi River in order to enhance water supply.
The local authority, which has been squatting from the district administration for some time now, intends to build a civic centre in Kasima where land has been set aside for the project.
Mr Akayombokwa says the civic centre will be built from internally generated resources, 20 percent from the equalisation fund and well-wishers.
Mongu is strategically located in the centre of Western Province and has comparative advantage for trade and administrative purposes.
It has a growing market, especially from the growing middle class, with potential for production and marketing of fish.
Currently, Mongu has a growing number of value-addition industries such as APG Milling, Zambeef, Mongu Cashew Company, Mongu Joinery, Country Aqua, Country Milling Company, HMM Milling Limited, and Kasima Water Company.
“Overall, Mongu’s economy providing employment comprises the primary industries of agriculture, fishing, forestry and hunting (about 81 percent) followed by commercial activities in whosale, retail, restaurant and hotels (11.6 percent), followed by manufacturing (three percent) and the construction industry (2.1 percent),” Mrs Songolo says.
Other economic activities in the district include transport and storage (1.5 percent), information and communication (0.2 percent) and mining/quarrying (0.1) percent.
“Mongu has grown and will soon transform into a city,” Mongu district commissioner Susiku Kamona says.