By Christopher Miti
MONGU Central UPND member of parliament Oliver Amutike says residents desire that government grants the district city status.
And Chipata mayor George Mwanza says the upscaling of the Constituency Development Fund from K1.6 million to K25.7 million will help Mongu attain city status soon.
Speaking when he paid a courtesy call on Chipata Mayor on Friday to share notes on how Mongu can attain city status like Chipata which attained the same in 2017, Amutike said he wanted to learn from Chipata on what it took to attain city status.
“We want to learn on what should be done or go about it for Mongu to attain city status. We want to join hands with the people of Chipata. We want to strengthen relationships in economic trade, culture and human relations,” he said. “We want the two cities to share experiences in economic development, town planning and how we can protect our environment. We want to make sure that as we develop our cities we take care of our environment.”
Amutike said he wanted to encourage cooperation between Chipata and Mongu residents.
“We want to promote local tourism between Eastern Province and Western Province. The only way we are going to develop as a nation is to encourage local tourism. We shouldn’t just wait for international visitors to come and see what we are not able to see,” said Amutike. “People of Western Province should come here in large numbers and see the Nc’wala ceremony. And likewise, the people here should also go to Western for Kuomboka which was held recently. During the fundraising we saw the Ngoni warriors taking part, that’s how it should be.”
And Mwanza appealed to Mongu residents to come together and play their role in ensuring the district attained city status.
He commended President Hakainde Hichilema for promoting decentralisation.
“The promotion of the decentralisation policy gives us hope that local authorities will be able to drive the change that has been lacking. We are the newest city in the country. We are the fifth city in the country and our story is not different from the story of Mongu municipality,” he said. “As municipalities, we believe that solidarity and exchange of ideas is what will build us to the next level that we are all aspiring to be. There are obviously other factors that need to be considered and one of it, is infrastructure like the existence of one or two cathedrals that support public activities.”
He said Mongu has the necessary population to migrate from a municipality to a city status.
“Our migration from municipal council to city council didn’t come without challenges. Various stakeholders played a role in ensuring that we attain city status. We had a lot of support from the church, parliamentarians and we are happy that a parliamentarian like yourself is taking a lead in ensuring that the municipality in your local constituency is transformed,” Mwanza said.
He said the upscaling of the CDF would help Mongu attain city status very fast because it would help in infrastructure development.
Chipangali PF member of parliament Andrew Lubusha said close collaboration between Chipata and Mongu would help entrench the One Zambia, One Nation motto.
Lubusha said he was happy with the move taken by Amutike to compare notes with Chipata mayor on his aspiration to have Mongu attain city status.
“We are humbled with this move. I stand as a very happy MP from Eastern Province because I know that this cooperation will yield a lot of benefits,” said Lubusha. “It will increase the coexistence between the good people of Western Province and the good people of Eastern Province. We all know that we need to exhibit serious levels of One Zambia, One Nation and we need to continue on this trajectory.”