IT WAS a moment of glory for people from all walks of life who had gathered in Mungwi District, Northern Province, to witness the installation of Henry Kanyanta Manga II as Paramount Chief Chitimukulu of the Bemba people.
The ceremony, on July 31, 2015, was punctuated by pomp and splendour, the heavy presence of special delegates further making it a spectacular event.
Among the dignitaries who witnessed the installation were traditional leaders from other parts of the country, diplomats accredited to Zambia, Cabinet ministers and deputy ministers, Members of Parliament, and representatives of opposition political parties.
President Edgar Lungu, who delivered the keynote speech at the ceremony, congratulated Paramount Chief Chitimukulu, also known as Mwine Lubemba, on his ascent to the royal throne.
President Lungu prayed that God would grant the traditional leader the wisdom to effectively oversee the affairs of his chiefdom and, most importantly, to collaborate with Government in fostering development.
“On behalf of my Government and the people of Zambia, let me also express gratitude for the cooperation that Northern Province has been rendering to the Patriotic Front (PF) administration in the implementation of developmental projects and programmes.
“The event we are witnessing today is very important to demonstrate the importance that we the people of Zambia attach to our traditional leaders as custodians of our traditions, heritage and customs,” Mr Lungu said.
He said the ceremony was also an acknowledgement of the immense contribution that the traditional leadership makes in upholding and promoting Zambia’s traditional and cultural values. Traditional leaders are vital in the development process of the nation because they are very close to the grassroots, he added.
President Lungu implored all Zambians to avoid disunity in chiefdoms, and instead preach peace and unity.
“Cultural events of this nature are significant as they not only unify us, but also remind us of our customs, norms and traditions.
“Culture is a very important ingredient that defines our humanity. Through such occasions, we are also socialized, especially our young people, into who we are, our existence and how we ought to respect and honour our leaders,” he said.
Mr Lungu pledged Government’s resolve to uphold and respect traditional events because of the significant and positive role they play in unifying people.
He reiterated Government’s commitment to implementing developmental projects in Paramount Chief Chitimukulu’s chiefdom and others across the country.
The PF Government had continued to place priority on improving the road network in the province through programmes such as the Link Zambia 8000 and the Pave Zambia 2000.
Transport and communication technologies, he said, are important in achieving development goals and promoting citizen participation in social and economic progress.
Under Pave Zambia, distribution of equipment has been completed in all the provinces including Northern Province.
Government is now seriously looking for resources so that work on township roads commences under this programme.
“I am also elated to be associated with the Link Zambia 8000 project whose progress has been tremendous as can be seen from projects such as Mbala-Nakonde Road, Kasama-Mporokoso Road, Kasama-Mbesuma Road and Luwingu-Mansa road.
“Works on Luwingu-Chaba, Mporokoso-Kaputa, Luwingu-Kasaba and Nseluka-Kayambi are expected to commence soon. In addition, upgrading of township roads in Mungwi, Mpulungu and Kasama districts are progressing well, while plans are underway to upgrade township roads in Mbala, Mporokoso, Nsama and Kaputa districts,” Mr Lungu said.
He said Government’s unwavering resolve to improve the country’s road network was yielding positive results.
In the agriculture sector, poor crop yields may be anticipated in Northern Province and other parts of the country due to long dry spells caused by late rains.
For this reason, the President urged all district disaster management committees in Northern Province and the whole country to work closely with the Office of the Vice-President to urgently assist adversely-affected areas.
In the year 2014, Government, through the Food Reserve Agency procured a total of 147,436 tonnes, above the target of 95,000 tonnes of white grain maize valued at K206,252,830. Farmers who supplied the maize to the agency were paid their dues.
“Let me assure you that this year, my Government is committed to continuing with the programme and the floor price will soon be announced.”
“In an effort to curb the sporadic foot and mouth disease being experienced in Mbala and Mpulungu districts from spreading further, my Government has instituted a ban on stock movement and scaled up the slaughtering of affected animals including surveillance activities,” Mr Lungu said.
Government was undertaking construction and rehabilitation of livestock infrastructure. A total of five dip tanks were under construction while four are under rehabilitation in Mbala District at a total cost of K809, 047.88.
Construction of the veterinary regional laboratory at a total cost of K3, 600,000 in Kasama is underway, while construction of community and public infrastructure under the Livestock Infrastructure Support Programme is also taking shape. The project is being funded by Government in partnership with the African Development Bank.
Government has also revamped operations at Kalungwishi Ranch to improve cattle breeding stock in the province. So far, the ranch has 60 breeding stock.
The President referred to progress in health infrastructure construction, citing the construction of phase 2 Mpulungu District Hospital, which has been completed, and phase 3, which stood at 80 percent.
Phase 1 of Chilubi District Hospital had been completed, whereas the contract for phase 2 works has been awarded.
Mr Lungu said rehabilitation of a new midwifery school in Lukupa, an annex for Kasama School of Nursing, had advanced and was 90 percent complete.
Construction of Mungwi District Hospital has commenced and the contractor has already moved on site.
Sites for 35 out of 69 sites for the construction of pre-fabricated health posts had been handed over though the contractor “has been a bit slow.”
In the education sector, success had been realized in the construction of new secondary schools in Chilubi, Mporokoso, Luwingu, Kaputa, Mpulungu and Kasama districts.
The project cost an estimated K350 million. The schools, at various levels of construction, were expected to be opened this year while others would be commissioned in 2016.
Rehabilitation works had also been carried out at Luwingu, Mporokoso and Mbala secondary schools.
In order to increase access to tertiary education, Government was constructing skills centres in Mbala, Mporokoso, Mpulungu, Luwingu and Chilubi districts.
“Northern Province is endowed with abundant tourism resources, as well as cultural heritage sites. Tremendous strides have been made in the development of tourism in the province. This includes infrastructure development at heritage sites, and formation of a northern tourism circuit to promote tourism,” the President said.
In reference to the energy sector, Lungu noted that the province had been facing serious challenges of intermittent power supply.
To address the situation, Government has embarked on a number of projects which include the now completed upgrading of Lunzuwa hydro-power station from the current 0.6 megawatts to 14.8 megawatts.
The 66 KV Pensulo to Kasama power line was also being upgraded to 330 KV. The project was well advanced and expected to be completed before the end of 2015.
“It is anticipated that the project will enable supply of industrial power to the province, hence attracting industrial development,” the President said.
The exercise of upgrading of Chishimba hydro-power station from 6.8 megawatts to14.8 megawatts is also expected to commence soon.
“Once these projects are completed, load-shedding and low voltage being experienced in Northern, Luapula, Eastern and Muchinga provinces will be greatly reduced.”
Government has embarked on projects to construct fuel service stations in Luwingu and Mporokoso districts. Contractors have already been shown the sites.
The province would also benefit from Government’s programme of constructing bulky fuel storage facilities in Kasama like the one already functional at Mpika.
Mr Lungu said the development activities were a clear testimony of his Government’s dedication to deliver on the campaign promises made to the Zambian people across the width and breadth of the country and Northern Province in particular.
“Zambia is going through an unprecedented record of development in health, education, roads, communication, energy, and agriculture, among others, and urged all citizens to do more to move the country forward.”- Feature courtesy of SUMA SYSTEMS.