[By Chambwa Moonga in Mungwi]
ROSA Catholic Church priest James Mulenga Kasuli says politics of mushanina ubwali should not be entertained by would-be voters.
On Tuesday, Democratic Party (DP) leader Harry Kalaba made a tiring seven-hour road trip from Malole (Mungwi district) to Rosa Catholic Mission – located in the outlying corner of the vast district in Northern Province.
Kalaba and his team started from Malole around 10:00 hours and only reached Rosa slightly after 17:00 hours – no thanks to a muddy path that passes through lively villages.
Vehicles in Kalaba’s travelling party got stuck in the mud at different intervals.
It took combined efforts from his team and the locals, especially around Mufumbi village of Mungwi district, to retrieve the vehicles from grime.
Kalaba, accompanied by DP sympathisers from nearby huts, walked for more than five kilometres – all the way to one shorter upgraded portion of another eyesore of a ‘road,’ the Nseluka – Kayambi.
The Nseluka – Kayambi dust stretch branches off from the Kasama – Mbala road and could have been a shorter route from Kasama to Nakonde.
As he walked in the direction of Nseluka – Kayambi path, Kalaba chanced a bicycle from a local person and he cycled on the dirt Malole–Mufumbi–Chimba road.
When the vehicles were aided out of mud, the journey continued from Chimba to Kandondo–Chimbola–Sokoni–Rosa.
This still came with frustrating delays, as the long path, whose sideways spots health maize, soybean and beans fields, has drenched depressions.
Excited locals waved at and greeted Kalaba, as his fleet passed through, regardless of the so-called road.
There is no sign that a vehicle has driven on Chimba to Kandondo–Chimbola–Sokoni–Rosa road these past few months.
Some locals affirmed that, as a matter of fact.
“It’s only motorbikes which pass through, especially from Nondo area in Senga Hill district. I have not seen a vehicle this year on this road, until today,” said one male adult, Bwembya, in Icibemba.
True, overloaded custom-made motorbikes are seen, but still not as a common feature on this path.
Around Sokoni village, this reporter asked a youth, Mutale, what social change he would want to see in his area.
“Tulekabila umusebo usuma namalaiti (we yearn for a proper road and power connectivity). Ala kuti cawama nga fyaisa nakuno ukwesu (it can be so nice if we can have those things being extended to our area),” said Mutale.
Upon arrival at Rosa Mission at dusk, Kalaba interacted with Fr Kasuli.
Some people were found doing parish work, and the priest briefly spoke, for Kalaba’s attention.
“You can give me a K20 and I’ll go and buy something. But politics of mushanina ubwali (bootlicking) are no more,” Fr Kasuli said. “Our desire is to have a road! I’m from telling you (Kalaba) that I have a small car but I have totally parked it. I used to always get stuck and always calling people to come and help me. Amalaiti nomusebo e major issues twakwata kuno (having electricity and a road are the major issues we have here).”
He also complained that Constituency Development Fund (CDF) for Malole Constituency for the years 2019 and 2020 had not been ‘seen’ in Rosa.
“Don’t we have issues in Malole Constituency? I move a lot around this place and we have places where people have never seen a vehicle. Go to Mondo area; a vehicle has never been there,” explained Fr Kasuli. “From Chimbola where you passed there is a road that goes to Mondo and I pass through there on a motorbike. Most of the people in Mondo have never seen a vehicle and a child can even run for their life if they see a vehicle. But those people do vote! So, your (Kalaba’s) people do have major problems affecting them.”
Kalaba told the parishioners that the biggest problem in Zambia was not lack of money but the government.
“But ebo tubika kuntanshi ni mputa kutema (those we put as our flag-bearers are self-centred characters). They regard you poor people as a ladder for them to move to the top,” he said. “This Malole Constituency should have been the one feeding the entire Northern Province. You have maize, millet, beans, groundnuts. But which road can you use to transport your agricultural produce?”
Kalaba promised that his government would construct a tarred road from Paramount Chief Chitimukulu’s palace all the way to Nondo area on the Kasama–Mbala tarred road.
“I have travelled on this terrible road and when I become the president of Zambia, we’ll tar this road from Paramount Chief Chitimukulu to Chimba–Kandondo–Chimbola–Sokoni–Rosa– Nondo,” promised Kalaba.