Lihefu assesses North-West challenges
Published On February 8, 2022 » 1374 Views» By Times Reporter » Features
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•Mwinilunga- Kakoma Kambimba Border Feeder Road.

By Emmah Chanda –
North-Western province is one of the regions in Zambia rich in natural resources such as minerals, fertile land, and good rainfall pattern conducive for agriculture.
However, people in the province feel left out in terms of infrastructure development in all social and economic sectors despite hosting three big copper mines and its massive contribution to the national treasury.
Northwestern province Minister, Robert Lihefu and deputy Permanent Secretary, Naomi Tetamashimba recently undertook a familiarisation tour to the districts to appreciate the challenges faced by traditional leaders and civil servants.
In Mwinilunga district, access to Kakoma chiefdom, 168 kilometres from the central business district is a nightmare due to the poor state of the feeder road.
And the chiefdom only has one rural health centre established in 1994 servicing a population of over 18,000 people.
Chief Kakoma has since appealed to the government to construct a mini-hospital in his chiefdom to improve health care service delivery in the area.
“The rural health centre we have here is not enough to cater for a population of 18,000 people and it is understaffed, so we want the new government to construct a new hospital for us,” he said.
Chief Kakoma also bemoaned the poor state of the Mwinilunga – Kakoma road, saying it is an economic road that can open up the area for development once worked on as it links the country to the Democratic Republic of Congo through Kambimba border.
And Mr Lihefu assured that the new government will consider constructing new health facilities in the chiefdom to cushion the existing one.
He noted with sadness that chiefdom with a population of 18,000 people only has one rural health centre, a situation he said the new government does not want to see.
He assured the people of Kakoma that government will address their challenges and ensure quality health care service delivery.
Meanwhile, Mwinilunga District Commissioner, Harrison Kamuna expressed disappointment that the facility has not been expanded since it was established in 1994.
Mr Kamuna echoed the minister’s sentiments that the health facility will be upgraded, saying government is determined to improve health care service delivery across the country.
And Kakoma rural health center acting nurse-in-charge, Musunga Chitula said the facility has a lot of challenges that needs governments urgent attention among them inadequate bed space, equipment, beddings and a maternity wing.
Ms Chitula said people including pregnant women cover long distances to get to the health facility but cannot be accommodated there due to inadequate bed space.
She has since appealed to government to come to the aid of the health centre and the people by improving the road network and the infrastructure at the health centre.
The picture of poor infrastructure such as the road network is not different from chief Ntambu’s area connecting to senior chief Sailunga’s chiefdom where the Makangu – Ntambu road is in a deplorable state and becomes impassable during the rainy season.
Chief Ntambu said the road has been in a deplorable state for a long time now and needs to be worked on.
The traditional leader expressed confidence in the leadership of the new government under President Hakainde Hichilema of addressing many challenges the chiefdom is faced with.“We are happy with the new government’s policy direction it is taking to develop the country,” he said.
And Mr Lihefu said government will ensure development reaches to all corners of the country through decentralization of public resources under the increased constituency development fund (CDF).
He further explained that government’s removal of fuel subsidy will help to generate funds that will improve service delivery in health, education and many other sectors.
Mr Lihefu has therefore, called on people to have unity of purpose and work with President Hichilema and his government who he said has shown political will to develop the province.
In Ikelenge district the traditional leadership want the 100 kilometre Mwinilunga- Jimbe border road worked on.
Chieftainess Ikelengi said government should prioritize the construction of the 100 kilometer Mwinilunga-Jimbe road on its developmental agenda for the district.
She said lack of a good road network is retarding both social and economic development of the district.
“First priority in terms of development for the district should be the road. The Kisasa-Mwinilunga road via Ikelenge-Jimbe boarder,” Chieftainess Ikelengi said
She said once the road is worked on it will open up trade between Zambia and Angola thereby, steering social and economic development in the district.
Chieftainess Ikelengi said people in the district produce a lot of pineapples which are just going to waste as farmers cannot take them to viable market due to the bad road network.
“Buyers are failing to come and access these farm produce because the road is really bad, she said.
Chieftainess Ikelengi also appealed to government to complete construction of a district hospital, the first-ever boarding secondary school and her palace whose works have stalled despite the contractors having been paid in full by government.
In response, Mr Lihefu said government appreciates the partnership that exists between itself and traditional leaders.
Mr Lihefu assured the traditional leader that government will do everything possible to work on the Mwinilunga-Jimbe road being an economic one.
Meanwhile in Kanyama chiefdom, Lunga and Mujhila bridges are on the verge of collapsing along a 65 kilometre Kanyama road posing a danger to the lives of people.
Chief Kanyama said the two bridges if not worked on soon the chiefdom will be cut off and thereby denying people access to goods and services from Mwinilunga town, especially that even the road itself is in bad state.
“Apart from the two bridges the road too needs to be worked on as it becomes impassable during the rainy season,” he said.
Chief Kanyama has also asked the new government to follow up the issue of ZESCO Muzhila mini-hydro power project in his chiefdom whose works have stalled.
In response, Mr Lihefu said government is aware of many challenges people in the province are facing, among them poor state of both feeder and economical roads and infrastructure in all sectors.
“We now have the President who understands all these challenges we are facing and has shown political will to develop our province so let us all unite for us to receive the much needed development we deserve,” he said.
And deputy Permanent Secretary, Naomi Tetamashimba reaffirmed governments’ commitment to restoring integrity and professionalism in the civil service.
Ms Tetamashimba said in the immediate past government integrity and discipline in the civil service was compromised, a thing the new government wants to restore.
She said this in Ikelenge district during an interactive engagement with civil servants.
Ms Tetamashimba said discipline in the civil service can never be overemphasized urging the public workers to implement government policies and programmes diligently.
“I know we are from a government where the civil service was compromised, and if you are one of those, you have another chance to start on a clean leaf with the UPND government,” she said.
Ms Tetamaahimba has also advised the civil servants to positively change their mindset in the manner in which government policies and programmes are implemented.
“You need to read and understand the UPND manifesto for you to implement government policies and programmes effectively. Take government policy pronouncements seriously so that you are not left behind,” she said.
And Provincial Minister Mr Lihefu said for government to deliver development effectively it needs the civil servants technical expertise.
‘You are our technical experts, you have the experience and we will ride on that so double your efforts,” he said.
Mr Lihefu has encouraged civil servants to be professional and work with the new government.
Ikelenge District Commissioner, Paul Masuwa appealed to government to address challenges of low staffing levels, office space in most government departments including the district administration.
Mr Masuwa further appealed to government to complete the construction of a district hospital and a boarding secondary school whose works have stalled.
“The boarding secondary school is renting a structure and they have been served with an eviction notice because they have accumulated a debt of K9,000 and they were asked to pay another K42, 000 as rent for the first term of 2022 which they cannot manage,” he said.
District Education Board Secretary, Collins Monde pledged, on behalf of civil servants in the district, to be professional and disciplined in their execution of duty.
Mr Monde said as civil servants they are so far happy with the new government’s policy direction to develop the country.
“We are happy with the new government so far as we have started seeing the fruits of things changing like the free education policy among others and the conducive working environment you have created for us as civil servants, we are now working freely,” he said.
Mr Monde however, appealed to government to address operational challenges civil servants are facing in the district among them lack of transport and office accommodation.
The Provincial Minister concluded his four days familiarization tour of Mwinilunga and Ikelenge districts where he had a series of successful interactive engagements with traditional leaders, civil servants and party officials with a call for unit and love so as to foster meaningful development in the province. – ZANIS

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