YOTAM Mtayachalo says he wants to leave a good legacy in Chama North Constituency, like he did in the labour movement.
Chama North Constituency in is Muchinga Province and Mtayachalo wants to be the member of parliament there in 2021. That will be his third attempt at winning the seat!
He desires to contest the seat on the opposition Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD), a party where he is currently serving as the chairperson for labour and acting chairperson for information and publicity.
Mtayachalo was born to Biswell Salu and Makness Botha on October 20, 1967 in Mpatamato township of Luanshya on the Copperbelt Province.
He is the second born in a family of eight.
Mtayachalo’s father resigned from the mines in 1973 and relocated the family to Chama district, then Eastern Province, where he ventured into business.
In 1974, Mtayachalo enrolled into Grade one at Chama Primary School where he was until in 1980 when he was transferred to Chipata where he continued his education at Feni Primary School. He also attended Sairi Primary School where he wrote his Grade seven examinations.
In 1983, Mtayachalo was among the four pupils who made it to Form One (Grade eight). He went to Chama Boys’ Secondary School, where he completed his Form Five (Grade 12).
Upon completion of school, Mtayachalo was employed as an untrained teacher at Kapichila Senga Primary School in Chama South Constituency in Chama district.
He, however, only taught for a term and decided to migrate to Ndola and joined Zesco in 1990 as a casual worker. In 1991, the country’s sole power utility employed him, on a permanent basis, as a technical clerk in the planning department in Ndola. In the meantime, he was studying, on a part-time basis, marketing and accounting at Northern Technical College (NORTEC) in Ndola and human resource management at Ndola Adult Centre.
Mtayachalo is married to Beauty Kaluba and the couple has three boys and one girl – George, James, Tawonga and Kanja.
During his work career, Mtayachalo was actively involved into trade union, in the energy sector, from 1991 to 2009.
About mainstream politics, Mtayachalo was in 2010 elected Copperbelt Province MMD information and publicity secretary. But in 2014, he resigned from the MMD and joined the FDD where he was appointed the party’s Copperbelt Province mobilisation chairman.
In 2018, Mtayachalo, together with party vice-president Chifumu Banda and others, was expelled from the FDD. They challenged their expulsion in court and won the case and the matter was consequently resolved amicably, out of court, thereby restoring their membership.
In the 2012 Chama North parliamentary by-election, Mtayachalo stood on the MMD ticket while during the 2016 general election, he contested the seat on the FDD ticket. He was unsuccessful in both instances.
He says he will be making a last ditch attempt in 2021.
Mtayachalo is the managing director of the Chama-based Mwanangwa Rice Company.
The firm buys rice and provides a ready market for small-scale rice farmers and offers employment to local people.
“We also process and package the product and we are optimistic that this year the company is poised to grow, if we find funding because the company has signed a contract with Guorock Zambia Limited to supply 150 metric tonnes of rice every month,” Mtayachalo says.
On his vision for Chama North Constituency, the 53-year-old Mtayachalo is desirous to help uplift the living standards of the constituents because in the past 55 years, Chama district has not received a fair share of the nation cake.
He explains that he has resisted calls from people to contest in Ndola Central Constituency where he has lived for 30 years now.
“I can’t do that in the sense that I want to provide a dedicated service to uplift the living standards of our people in Chama because in the past 55 years, the district has not received a fair share of the nation cake,” Mtayachalo tells The Mast.
“Therefore the people of Chama North cannot continue to live on broken promises and as such, I want leave a good legacy as I did in the labour movement.”
Some of the key priority areas he yearns to pay attention to, once elected as a member of parliament, include education and health infrastructure in the constituency.
He also talks about maintenance of bridges, for instance, across the Kamphemba River.
Mtayachalo wants to go to Parliament and advocate that the government ‘gives’ Chama North Constituency a good road network which can catalyse economic development. Some of the roads he is passionate about include the Chama-Matumbo, Lundazi-Chama, among others.
“I want to see also that feeder roads are upgraded to all weather roads,” he says.
“I want to ensure that education services are brought closer to people’s door steps by constructing more schools and upgrading the old ones, including community schools and address teacher-pupil ratio which is widening in the constituency.”
Mtayachalo promises that a skills training college has to be opened in Chama to impart school-leavers with special skills and knowledge.
Other things Mtayachalo pledges to his prospective voters in Chama North are first-rate health services, probably in all the constituency’s wards, provision of safe and clean water and rural electrification programmes, practical resolution of human-animal conflict.
In fact, on human-animal conflict, Mtayachalo says he intends to move a private member’s bill, once elected, so as to repeal the wildlife Act of 1947 which gazetted Chama as a Game Management Area (GMA).
He further explains that he will be a lawmaker who will speak passionately about crop diversification in the constituency.
Mtayachalo says Chama North farmers ought to be encouraged to diversify their farming preference from growing maize to cash crops like soya beans, groundnuts, sun flower, paprika, cowpeas, among others.
He also targets to initiate the construction of a modern market because the current market at Chama boma is: “too small.”
“I will engage the Ministry of Local Government for the construction of a modern market and utilisation of CDF (Constituency Development Fund) to build some markets in some wards,” he promises.
“[Also] the structure housing the police in the district is very small and not fit for human habitation. I will engage the Ministry of Home Affairs on the need to construct a modern police station and officers’ houses in order to motivate them.”
Mtayachalo adds that as a member of parliament, he will endlessly engage the government so that it can construct a correctional facility in Chama district.
“Chama district has no prison. So, prisoners are sent to Lundazi Prison…” he laments.
Mtayachalo does not forget to highlight issues of sport and culture and corporate social responsibility in his earmarked constituency.
“I will promote football and netball. I will also scout for sponsorship for Chama Young Stars which is in FAZ Division two,” Mtayachalo notes.
“The Kwenje traditional ceremony will be improved to make it more attractive not only locally but also in the diaspora by bringing on board sponsors. So, I will work closely with traditional leaders and organising committees.
He summarises by saying that his vision for Chama North Constituency can only be actualised by regular interactions with the people at grassroots level and heads of governmental departments in the district.
“In a nutshell, I will work with everybody, regardless of their political affiliations if I have to succeed as a member of parliament,” concludes Mtayachalo.
The current Chama North member of parliament is PF’s Darious Mumba. Mtayachalo has come knocking on the door of Chama North Constituency, for a third time. Will he enter Manda Hill, representing ‘Chamans’? August 2021 will answer this question.
This is a weekly column that features aspiring and sitting members of parliament across Zambia.
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