SANFROSSA MANYINDA writes @SunZambian
THE love and passion of becoming a servant for the people made him join politics. His humble beginnings are what have shaped his belief that modesty with determination can take him anywhere.
Mwenya Clement Munkonge is Lukashya Independent Member of Parliament. He was born on March 16, 1968 in Lusaka.
I am the first son of Professor Lupando Munkonge, a surgeon and Theresa Musenge Munkonge a retired nurse who once served as general secretary of the Zambia National Union of Nurses Organization (ZNUSO) for 40 years.
I lived most of my life in hospital premises.
My father is son of late Chief Munkonge, a traditional leader of the Bemba speaking people of Kasama district in Northern Province.
I am still single and I have got three sisters and a brother.
EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND AND CAREER
I started school in 1974 at Woodlands A primary School in Lusaka and went up to grade seven and later did a turn of one year at Munali secondary school before I was transferred to St. Paul’s Secondary School in Kabwe where I completed my grade 12.
I am a holder of a College Certificate in Accountancy and Stockbroker Certificate. I have worked for a number of companies.
I worked for Barclays Bank Zambia and later joined the Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines (ZCCM where I worked as a trainee accountant.
I was later promoted to the position of accountant payables.
WHEN AND HOW HE JOINED POLITICS
I was inspired to join politics by my family members such as former Minister of Finance Alexander Chikwanda.
While others feared these politicians who have contributed immensely to the development of this nation and labeled them powerful, I interacted with them at personal level.
I had no shortfall of political role models because we had a lot of politicians in our family.
Being the first son of Professor Munkonge, I have been instrumental in contributing greatly to various services in the chiefdom such as the installation of chiefs and the burial of traditional leaders.
WHAT INSPIRED HIM TO JOIN POLITICS
I do not like seeing people suffer. Where I can help I help. It is something I have been doing all my life.
I have a lot of compassion for people. I cannot sit down and watch a person suffer.
It was due to this fact that I thought I could contribute something in this aspect. When opportunity came, I was scared especially when it had to go on the route of independent.
But with strong family support, and the people on the ground I took it up.
VISION FOR THE PEOPLE OF LUKASHYA
I am Member of Parliament to protect and support everyone in my Constituency.
I want to ensure that everyone in the constituency is empowered so that we can alleviate poverty.
And I believe the land we have in Lukashya should give us a bargaining point to better living standards of the people.
I also want to ensure that we take advantage of the water and land we have in abundance to improve the peoples’ lives through fish farming.
HOW DOES HE SEE THE CURRENT POLITICAL SITUATION IN ZAMBIA
The current political scenario is very difficult. It has been made difficult for a number of reasons, one of them being the current environment we are in.
We have got a government that is struggling with getting resources needed to take it forward.
But it is the question of choice, which one would want to take, whether right or left. If government was not strong, some of the decisions it makes would be from the point of view of compromise.
Today’s politics have been made dirty for lack of a better term. If we people participating in politics insult each other it will be hard for the outside world to take our leaders seriously because we might have already done character assassination.
That is where we say the act of keeping people who want to join politics away because the quality of politics has gone down.
Only the toughest of the tough will participate in politics nowadays.
I can assure you that the outcome of politics we are doing now is affecting the long-term planning because society seems to be enjoying it.
WHAT HE WOULD WANT TO CHANGE IN THIS FIELD
I am hoping that I can bring a different brand of politics to champion non-violence, better language among ourselves and avoid demeaning characters of those who may not agree with us.
I would hopefully want to represent a new generation and a new type of politics which would put Zambia first and making necessary sacrifices to benefit everyone in Zambia.
I do not like personalizing things so that we can stick to the aim of trying to bring development.
There are so many personal things that sometimes obstruct the main topic and sometimes I see this happening in parliament where it is easier to be aggressive and not offer a solution.
I would want to see a day when politics would not be personalized especially with regard to development.
HIS WORKING RELATIONSHIP WITH THE RULING PARTY
I have not seen or found any problem working with the party in government in terms of development.
Lukashya is one of the biggest constituencies in the district and I thank government for giving us constituency development funds on time.
HIS THOUGHT ABOUT JOINING OTHER POLITICAL PARTIES
The same procedure I used to stand independently is the same I will use in 2021. I will listen to the people because they were the ones who advised me to stand as independent in the first place.
I applied to stand on the PF ticket in August 2016 but I was rejected. The people spoke and I won by a large margin.
I grabbed the seat from the immediate past MP Alfredah Kansembe, who stood on the Patriotic Front (PF) ticket.
I was petitioned in court by the UPND and PF losing candidates but I won the case.
Usually, the will of the people is very difficult to overcome once they make their minds up.
I will again go back and consult them in 2021 and what they will tell me is what I will do.
Well, I get a lot of inspiration from different people in different aspects.
I will start with my mother, she is a very big influence in my life.
When I think of forgiveness, the inspiration comes from Nelson Mandela. With what they did to him, it was not easy to have tried not to revenge.
When it comes to perseverance, talking the talk Martin Luther King is my another inspiration. And I feel that if you can inspire others to do better, that is the way to go.
On the Zambian front, I would say Kenneth Kaunda and Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe also are my source of inspiration. Whatever decisions they made gad the good for the people at heart.
However right the decisions they made, they stood for the things which is a difficult thing to see these days.
FUTURE POLITICAL ASPIRATIONS
I would be contented if I left a positive contribution in my constituency and in Zambia where people would be able to point at after serving a specific number of terms.
Sometimes, this life can make you spend so much time on an activity and find out that the contribution goes without being as positive as what you would have wanted.
It is always an attempt to build and leave something behind for the next person to use.
My nature has been basketball, I created a team and we create coaches. We also created Scrabble Association of Zambia (SAZ) which now goes all over the world to participate in tournaments.
I have also done a lot of projects in my constituency in all areas. It be education, health and others, too many to mention.
ANY PRESIDENTIAL AMBITIONS?
I would not take it lightly. It would be something that would require me to highly consult my family and all the people whose opinion I hold highly.
All of us dream and want to fulfill the full dream but it is not something I would actually pursue.
There is a lot involved and it is not easy. I have to weigh myself, set standards and ask how I would surpass great people that have contributed immensely development wise. The challenge is there.
It has to be something I can take with seriousness but if the right people talked to me and convinced me, it’s something one can entertain.