YANDE SYAMPEYO, Lusaka
DEPSITE Tumvwanganai ward being host to mining giants such as Lumwana and Kansanshi, the area is synonymous with dust due to the poor state of township roads, high poverty levels, lack of clean water and inadequate schools and health facilities.
The ward, which houses the famous Kyawama Market and township, is located in the central business district of Solwezi and partly peri-urban, has the largest population of people in North-Western Province.
According to Central Statistical Office (CSO) 2010 report, the population stood at 40,388 of which 20,094 were male and 20,294 females.
“You can have a good school, health centre and market facility but if getting there by road is a nightmare, the infrastructure is likely to remain a white elephant”, laments Kazhila Lubezhi.
Mr Lubezhi, who has lived there for over 10 years, is concerned about the dust that emanates from the bad roads as it has proved to be health hazard.
“It is all gravel, dusty and quite impassable in the rainy season. I find this unacceptable because we host giant mining firms and yet we are languishing in poverty,” Mr Lubezhi says.
He wants Government, in partnership with the mining firms to consider prioritising the construction of road infrastructure in the area.
Mirriam Mwanza, of Kyawama township’s wish is for Government to construct more health centres.
Currently, the area has two health centres namely; Kazomba and Urban Clinic, against a huge population.
Ms Mwanza, mother of four, says people in the densely- populated township have challenges accessing health services due to the huge population.
“At times, the queues at the health centres are discouraging and this has to some extent increased the health burden,” Ms Mwanza laments.
However, help is on the way for people in Tumvwanganai ward, whose major economic activities is trading and mining as the youthful area councillor Kyapalushi Kapatamoyo has declared herself equal to the task to deliver development.
The councillor, who is the only female at Solwezi Municipal Council, has devised a strategic plan to address the pertinent issues the area is faced with.
“For over 10 years, Solwezi Municipal Council has had no female councillor and I identified that platform as one that has the potential to bring change to the grass roots,” she says.
Ms Kapatamoyo, who resides behind urban clinic and a stone’s throw away from Kizhingezhinge township, wants to prioritise access to clean drinking water and opening up of new roads.
“Despite the water utility company putting up kiosks, there is no water coming through and most of them have been abandoned,” Ms Kapatamoyo laments.
Married with three children, Ms Kapatamoyo wants government to release funds to China Geo, the contractor engaged to work on 20.6 kilometres of township roads.
She says the contractor, who had moved on sight has since abandoned the project.
Ms Kapatamoyo is also advocating the upgrading of the two health facilities as they both have enough geographical space to expand infrastructure to house the huge population.
The councillor, who has worked and advocated poverty alleviation through a number of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) says poverty, is a vice that has greatly affected women and children in the area.
“What inspired me to serve the people on a political level is my passion to contribute to reducing poverty in my ward and changing the lives of my people.
Ms Kapatamoyo is also on hand to resolve some of the challenges faced at Kyawama Market such as toilets through the construction of a sceptic tank.
As the PWD chairperson, the councillor is also sensitising traders in all markets regarding the safety of goods in light of fires that have recently rocked trading places in some parts of the country.
“Other than that, we have ensured no blockage of key roads in case of fire outages. This is not a one off activity as requires change of attitude,” she says.
The councillor, a social worker by profession, also plans to partner with the mining firms to set up a community centre.
“In the social sector, Solwezi Youth Alive, is providing sexual reproductive trainings to youths and I have a personal mentorship programme for young women,” she says.
Ms Kapatamoyo, who believes in the power of the local government system and its ability to bring about visible change, is optimistic the construction of a modern market and bus station will change the face of Solwezi once complete.
She has advice for fellow councillors countrywide on the need to co-exist beyond partisan lines to foster development in their areas.
Ms Kapatamoyo wants councillors to design deliberate programmes that can be replicated in all wards.
“I would want us to set precedence for other councillors to follow. We are a new breed of councillors that come at a cost, which is the demand for increased expectations but more so, we are required to join hands and champion what is rightfully ours.
“I believe councillors are at the grassroots hence separating our civic calendared duties and daily activities in the ward should not be the case. Let the spirit of servant leadership be born in us as councillors,” Ms Kapatamoyo says.