YANDE SYAMPEYO, Lufubu, Ngabwe
LUFUBU Constituency in Ngabwe district of Central Province is a typical rural area with no electricity while the roads and bridges are in a deplorable state.
The constituency, which is 300 kilometers away from Kapiri Mposhi, has a population of 19,260 and is mainly a farming area.
The area was previously under Kapiri Mposhi district before it was declared a district in 2013 by late President Michael Sata.
The constituency, which was demarcated this year by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ), comprises Ngabwe and Mukubwe chiefdoms of the Lenje/Lamba speaking people.
The constituency has abundant water from the Kafue River and mineral deposits which are yet to be exploited.
However, not all is gloomy in the constituency as the area is poised for development following its promotion to district status.
A district administration block and staff houses are under construction in Mumbachala area. Other structures being constructed are a civic centre, post office, police station, 20 high-cost and 10 medium-cost houses.
Government is also constructing a secondary school at Mumbachala while a number of primary schools are being upgraded to secondary school level.
Two candidates are eyeing to foster development in the new constituency in which fishing is prominent from the Lukanga Swamps and Kafue River. The ruling party is fielding Gift Chiyalika, while former Mpongwe member of Parliament Gabriel Namulambe is contesting the seat as an independent candidate.
Gift Chiyalika (PF)
Mr Chiyalika, an accountant by profession, was born in Lwamala area in Chief Ngabweâ€™s chiefdom. Mr Chiyalika, a father of three says his priority for the constituency once elected, is to advance services in the health and education sectors.
He says services in the two sectors, which are critical to development, are lagging in the area.
Mr Chiyalika, who did his education at Lwamala primary, Kasongo and Luanshya Boys Secondary School, is irked with the poor state of community schools in the constituency.
He pledges to ensure all community schools in the area, which are mostly made of mud and poles, are upgraded to acceptable standards.
â€œThe community schools in Chief Ngabweâ€™s chiefdoms are like kraals. They are in a deplorable state. We need to upgrade them to modern standard. I grew up here and we used to walk long distances to access education. We had to cross Lwamala Stream and if it was flooded, we would be stuck,â€ he says.
Mr Chiyalika, who worked for the Ministry of Health as a district accountant, says he will use the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) to construct more health centres in the area.
He laments that currently, some people walk 150 Km to access health care. He says of the 650 health posts under construction across the country, five were allocated to Ngabwe chiefdom while Mukubwe chiefdom received four.
However, in Chief Ngabweâ€™s chiefdom, none have been constructed so far while in Chief Mukubwe, two of the four clinics have been completed.
â€œI think Iâ€™m well positioned to represent my people because having been born here, Iâ€™m aware of the challenges people face. My priority once elected will be to ensure people have access to health services as close to the family as possible.
â€œPreviously, we had MPs who hailed from Kapiri Mposhi and Lusaka, among other areas and once they won elections, they would disappear and only return when seeking re-election. So, it is high time I represented my people effectively,â€ he says.
Mr Chiyalika, who describes himself as an indigenous Ngabwe leader says road infrastructure is another area which he will focus on once elected as the law maker of the area.
All roads in Lufubu are gravel and are generally in bad state. The main road to the area is the Mukobeko-Chipepo-Mukubwe-Ngabwe road. Despite this road being captured in the Link Zambia 8000 road project, it is yet to be constructed.
â€œThis road is a vital link to this area and when it rains, the road is impassable. Agriculture is the mainstay of this area and I can tell you that farmers face challenges to transport their produce because of the bad roads and infact most of the money they raise from the sale of their produce is spent on transport costs,â€ Mr Chiyalika says.
He says he will see to it that the wetlands in the constituency are exploited for rice production.
Gabriel Namulambe- Independent
Mr Namulambe, 49, could not be reached for comment by press time.
But what do people of Lufubu Constituency expect from the first MP? Samson Chindongo, a 76 years old peasant farmer feels the area is neglected.
Mr Chindongo says â€œwe live as if we are in foreign countryâ€.
â€œFor us here in Mukubwe chiefdom, if we have to go to Ngabwe chiefdom, we have to pay to cross the river using the pontoon. This is unlike in the past when transportation was free,â€ he laments.
Mr Chindongo also wants Government to work on the roads as farmers face challenges to transport their produce to the market.
â€œIt really seems as if we are not in Zambia. In the first republic, we never used to suffer like this. The pontoon operators used to be paid by the state unlike now when we are required to sustain their livelihood,â€ Mr Chindongo said.
Lydia Kaboleka, 32, a mother of four wants the lawmaker to facilitate the connection of the area to the national grid.
It is Ms Kabolekaâ€™s desire to see health centres equipped with adequate manpower and ambulances.
â€œIf a pregnant woman has complications, we do not have ambulances to rush them to Kabwe or Kapiri Mposhi district hospitals. And our nearest health centre is manned by one doctor who is occasionally assisted by traditional birth attendants,â€ she says.
Ms Kaboleka remains hopeful that once the MP assumes office, the complexion of the constituency will change for the better.
YANDE SYAMPEYO, Lufubu, Ngabwe