Columnists Features

Monze: Education centre, agric hub

BENEDICT TEMBO, Monze
EVERYTHING being equal, Monze should be one of the fastest growing districts in Southern Province.
Besides being a transit town lying between Choma – the provincial headquarters –and Mazabuka – home of Zambia Sugar – Monze is now a preferred investment destination in the province. It is also an important education centre.
It is the home to Rusangu University, Zambia College of Agriculture, Community Development College, Farmer Training Centre, Monze College of Education, Kasiya Training College, Monze School of Nursing, Gateway to a Better Living Nursing School, Charles Lwanga Teachers College in Chikuni and Lwengu School.
The farming district has attracted the interest of institutions and individuals who are willing to set up industries and shopping malls to contribute to the growth.
However, the local authority’s hands are tied as land is owned by either commercial farmers or traditional authority.
“Monze is certainly growing.we have received so many requests from people [and companies] trying to establish industries, service centres and shopping malls,” Monze District Council director of works Arnold Mwanabunga says.
However, the district is surrounded by farms on the eastern and western parts, while traditional land covers the southern and northern segments.
the requests for land received include those from Zesco, which is looking for a site to establish a storage for fuel for running of generators while Shoprite intends to set up the first ever shopping mall in the district.
STATUS
Monze is situated on the Great North Road/Railway route, approximately 200 kilometres from Lusaka in the north and 300 kilometres from Livingstone, the tourist capital, in the south.
It shares borders with Mazabuka in the north, Gwembe in the east, Pemba district in the south and Namwala in the west.
The latitudinal and longitudinal positions of the central business district of Monze is 16? 16?.493 and 27? 28?.566, respectively.
According to the district situation analysis, Monze used to be a sub-centre of Mazabuka, which ran from Kafue to Choma.  Mazabuka boma was in Kalomo.
Monze became a district of its own around the early 1970s but before the current boma, the first sub – boma in Monze was at Sinaluchaba [St. Mary’s].
Later it was relocated to Magoye near the railway station.
Monze town started as a railway siding when the railway reached it around 1905 with a railway station house as the first building.
The first white man to reach Monze before the railway line was David Livingstone. White men who opened shops, which are currently the Manyepa Store, influenced the growth of an urban centre, which is today Monze town.
One of these white men was ‘Hikabibi’ [coined by the Tonga to mean someone who was hard and cruel on them]. Apart from building shops, the white men built a post office at the current Machipisa Store and a clinic at the current mother’s shelter.
CLIMATE
The climate of Monze is generally savannah sub-tropical, characterised by two main seasons, wet and dry. The normal rainy season in Monze runs from late October to April with seasonal variations.
Due to climate change, the rainy season has of late become very unpredictable, hence making agro-planning quite cumbersome. In addition, the rains rarely reach 815mm per year and therefore exacerbating the scenario.
The cool and dry season commences in May and runs up to July while the hot and dry season starts in August and runs up to October.
Temperatures range from 26°C to 40°C during the hot season, and 12°C to 26°C during the cold season.
Monze district covers an area of approximately 6,687 square kilometres and it is mainly plateau.
HYDROLOGY
The Kafue River is the largest river that crosses the district though it is at the borderline with Namwala in the west and Mazabuka in the north.  The other notable river is the Magoye River. This is the river that provides water to Monze Township through Hachaanga dam, which lies on the river in Hachaanga, located east of the town.
There are a number of perennial streams in the district, especially the eastern part of the district, where the topography is hilly. Of late, even the renowned perennial streams have become seasonal due to prolonged drought in Southern Province.
There are approximately 149 dams in Monze, most of which were constructed to provide water for animals.
The district has three main springs of which one Gwisho, situated on, the Kafue Flats, is a hot spring. The Gwisho Hot Springs occur along a geological fault, surrounded by lush vegetation and vegetable ivory palms.
Monze comprises three constituencies namely: Bweengwa, Moomba and Monze Central.
POPULATION
Monze has a total population of 191,872, according to the Central Statistical Office (CSO) 2010 Census of Population and Housing Population Summary Report (June 2012). This represents 12.1 percent of the total population of Southern Province (1,589,926) and 1.4 percent of the total population of Zambia.
HOUSEHOLDS AND VILLAGES
There are 32,849 households and about 1,200 villages in the district.
ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES
There is a lot of farming of both crops and livestock in Monze.
INFRASTRUCTURE
Monze is a beneficiary of infrastructure development from the central government as well as from constituency development funds.
One of the flagship projects is the Niko-Monze road, which is 88 percent complete.




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