CHAMBO NGâ€™UNI, Kapiri Mposhi
MULUNGUSHI Rock of Authority in Central Province stands out as an epicentre of events that have shaped the political and governance course in Zambia.
This rock of authority is synonymous with the Mulungushi Reforms of 1968 in which first President Kenneth Kaunda declared his Governmentâ€™s intentions to acquire holding in a number of key foreign-owned firms that were to be controlled by the Industrial Development Corporation.
Dr Kaundaâ€™s speech in which he announced major transformations, was later to be called the Mulungushi Economic Reforms or Mulungushi Declaration.
To date, Mulungushi Rock of Authority has continued to be a place where decisions that have had a significant bearing on the MMD and Patriotic Front governments have been made.
It is at this site that UNIP, under the leadership of freedom fighters like Dr Kaunda, held its conference in 1960 after the party broke away from the Zambia African National Congress (ZANC).
Grey Zulu, the former UNIP secretary general, is credited for having sighted the rocky area near Mulungushi River in Kabwe, which was to become Mulungushi Rock of Ages or Mulungushi Rock of Authority.
Before the creation of Kapiri MposhiÂ district in 1994, Kabwe which is historically acclaimed as the â€˜birthplaceâ€™ of Zambiaâ€™s independence, hosted Mulungushi Rock of Authority.
When the MMD government under the leadership of Frederick Chiluba created Kapiri Mposhi out of Kabwe about 20 years ago, Mulungushi River became the boundary between the two districts.
It is from this river that Mulungushi Rock of Authority, a significant venue for political events, derives its name.
In 1972, the UNIP government established the Presidentâ€™s Citizen College, an institution for labour studies near Mulungushi Rock of Authority, in recognition of the siteâ€™s political significance to Zambia.
The college had a mandate of providing leadership training to officers in Government, parastatal organisations and the labour movement.
In 1994, the Presidentâ€™s Citizen College was transformed into the National College of Management and Development Studies (NCMDS). But with the increasing demand for universities in the country, Government later repealed the NCMDS Act of 1972, to pave way for Mulungushi University, which came into being on December 31, 2007 pursuant to Section 3(2) of the NCMDS Act No. 18 of 2005 following the dissolution of the college council.
Under Part Two of Section 4(2) of the University Act No.11 of 1999, then Minister of Education Geoffrey Lungwangwa also issued another Statutory Instrument declaring NCMDS as Mulungushi University.
With these developments, Kabwe, formerly known as Broken Hill, is said to host Mulungushi Rock of Authority and Mulungushi University.
This is further cemented by the fact that Mulungushi University still uses the postal address of Kabwe and the fact that the learning institution also has a campus in Kabweâ€™s Highridge residential area.
The media on the other hand have contributed to perpetuating the belief that both Mulungushi Rock of Authority and Mulungushi University are located in Kabwe.
This is the record that Government officials in Kapiri Mposhi have belaboured to correct over the years.
Kapiri Mposhi district commissioner Beatrice Sikazwe explains that the boundary between her district and Kabwe is Mulungushi River.
Ms Sikazwe says Mulungushi Rock of Authority, Mulungushi University and King George VI National College are, therefore, located in Kapiri Mposhi district.
â€œMulungushi University and Mulungushi Rock of Authority are located right here in Kapiri Mposhi. Even King George VI National College also belongs to Kapiri Mposhi,â€ she says.
According to Ms Sikazwe, the historical site [rock of authority] and the university are located in Mpunde ward in Kapiri Mposhi constituency and not in Kabwe Central or Bwacha constituencies.
â€œThis is the history we have, and up to this day whenever we are having programmes, we include Mulungushi University. When they want something, they [university officials] write to the district [administration] here,â€ she adds.
The Kapiri Mposhi Council has agreed with Ms Sikazweâ€™s views, saying records show that Mulungushi Rock of Authority and Mulungushi University are located in the transit district.
Council secretary Hamwende Mpande acknowledges that Mulungushi Rock of Authority and the Presidentâ€™s Citizen College were initially located in Kabwe rural until 1994 when they fell under Kapiri Mposhi.
â€œI have actually raised this issue on several occasions,â€ Mr Mpande says. â€œItâ€™s actually very wrong to insist that they are in Kabwe because records here show that these are within the boundaries of Kapiri Mposhi.â€
He says it is unfortunate that the media and many people have continued to misrepresent the fact that Mulungushi Rock of Authority and Mulungushi University are in Kabwe.
â€œWe need to stop this and we need to set the record straight,â€ Mr Mpande says.
Kabwe district commissioner Patrick Chishala has equally declared that the historical site and the university are located in Kapiri Mposhi and not Kabwe.
â€œThey are in Kapiri Mposhi and I think politically, it is assumed that Mulungushi Rock of Authority is in Kabwe,â€ Mr Chishala states.
Mulungushi University corporate affairs officer James Pondo also clarifies that both the rock of authority and the university are in Kapiri Mposhi.
â€œMulungushi University is in Kapiri Mposhi and the same is the case with Mulungushi Rock of Authority,â€ Mr Pondo says, adding that Mulungushi River is the geographical boundary between the two districts.
Mr Pondo reckons that people could be insisting that both the historical site and the learning institution are in Kabwe because of their proximity to the provincial administration centre.
The misconception that Mulungushi Rock of Authority and the university are in Kabwe could be due to the major events that took place at the site before and after Zambiaâ€™s independence.
The fact, however, is that the rock of authority and the university have been in Kapiri Mposhi district since 1994.
CHAMBO NGâ€™UNI, Kapiri Mposhi