Ephraim Belemu spells out challenges in Mbabala
Published On March 1, 2014 » 2218 Views» By Hildah Lumba » Features
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MP Logo-Kaiko NamusaENDEVOURING to propel development in rural areas has continued to prove a challenge to members of Parliament who represent rural-based constituencies.
The major concern is about run-down infrastructure, especially schools and health institutions, some of which were constructed by missionaries in the 1960s.
This is a summary of challenges faced by United Party for National Development (UPND) Mbabala Member Parliament (MP) Ephraim Belemu.
Born July 30, 1968 in Mbabala in Mapanza of Southern Province, Mr Belemu says his heart is focused on serving the people of an area he has lived in most of his life and attended part of his education in the rural primary schools, where he covered long distances along with other children to acquire primary school education.
He is now a professional marketer holding a Masters Degree in this field, and is married to Sylvia and has four children.
Mr Mbelemu has worked for organisations such as the Zambia National Tourism Board and the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) where he resigned to join politics in 2011, driven by a motivation to get closer to decision-making processes in Parliament so that he could influence and shape the lives of his people and the nation.
“Having worked in the public sector, I have seen that there are certain things one cannot change unless they join politics and that is the more reason I joined. To be an agent of change and help an area I have lived in, I have seen the challenges that people face and which I also went through,” Mr Belemu says.
He did secondary education at Saint Marks Secondary School in Mbabala and proceeded to David Kaunda Technical Secondary School in Lusaka.
His hobbies include reading, traveling and he enjoys movies with political influence.
Education
Having grown up in an area where pupils have to travel long distances to reach school, Mr Belemu is geared to help set up a secondary school in Mbabala ward.
He has also embarked on a programme to establish libraries in several schools and the opening of a secondary will add to the already existing ones, namely, Macha Girls and St Marks Secondary Schools.
He is optimistic that this will help increase the number of pupils enrolling for secondary education.
“My goal is to have more secondary schools, libraries and I am working with school authorities to help improve the pass rate among pupils. As everyone knows, education is the key to development,” he adds.
Accommodation is another challenge for teachers in rural areas and the parliamentarian is also targeting to push for investment in the refurbishment of existing houses as well as building new ones.
He says expenditure in the education sector is costing between 50 and 70 per cent of the Constituency Development Funds (CDF) but is determined to achieve his goals to the expectations of the people.
In addition, sanitary standards in schools also require urgent attention.
Health
The location of health posts in Mbabala comes at a great cost for residents. They have to cover long distances on some occasions. Those without modern modes of transportation rely on their livestock such as cattle to ferry them and cover distances of a maximum of 30 kilometres to reach a health post.
This is a picture that gives Mr Belemu sleepless nights, knowing that the rural people are enduring this kind of suffering.
Services such as ambulances are still a rare sight but he wants to bring more ambulances to Macha Hospital and Mapanza rural health centre.
The Ministry of Health is also aiding the situation by allocating more funds to rehabilitate Mapanza health post and so is the CDF allocation providing financial back-up.
Mortuary space is another concern requiring addressing, so is the construction of a modern shelter for patients and an improved maternity wing.
Roads
In the area of roads, Mr Belemu has noted that this sector is run-down as bridges need reconstruction, especially with the rain in our midst, adding that the improvement of access roads is another area needing attention.
Works towards addressing this are currently on course, Mr Belemu says.
“Most bridges we have were constructed a long time ago and a number of them are damaged, but we are trying to address the situation,” he says.
Agriculture
Agriculture has been the livelihood of the people of Southern Province and the nation at large. Mr Belemu has cited the need for earth dams and deep-tanks as a source of concern requiring attention as well.
He laments that the outbreak of the African Swine Fever and in the past, corridor disease have left a trail of destruction on livestock.
In this scenario, Mr Belemu believes that restocking of animals, and providing investment for the establishment of deep-tanks is cardinal.
He adds that the CDF is being used to help address this area. In order to achieve development at large scale, Mr Belemu has noticed that this can only be realised if the CDF is increased from the current K1.4 million to around K6 million.
“I feel that the current CDF rate is low to embark on the vast programmes I want for the people, so this should be increased in future,” he says.
Mr Belemu believes that effective representation of the people that voted him into office remains his focus and will continue to effectively provide meaningful representation in and outside Parliament.
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After featuring Kafue Patriotic Front (PF) MP, Obvious Mwaliteta in last week’s edition, an ardent reader of the column, Elector Simuvwenze, sent this message:
“I was quite excited to read that analysis and explanation of developmental projects that have so far been undertaken in Kafue. I personally look forward to reading such interesting developmental stories in our newspapers.
Nevertheless sir I have the following concerns 1. How can our MPs help the youth foster development in the country?
I ask this question sir because it has been quite difficult to just meet these MPs and share our needs.
As youths we are definitely the future leaders of this nation and at the same time great future investors, and businessmen.
What I m trying to say is that some of us have got great business ideas, viable business proposals but it is difficult to contact people with resources to help take up a business venture. In our country it is almost impossible for a financial institution to finance a start-up business.
How would our MP assist us realise these business ideas? I m not saying we need money for these business proposals to take course, all we need in most cases is just equipment and machinery for us to start operations. If only our MP can help us to get connected and get these equipments, definitely the issue of unemployment will reduce.
I understand sir you have contact with most of the MPs, help me in getting an answer to this matter.”
For comments. Send your mail to namusak@gmail.com

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