GLORIA KANGWA writes
THE African Centre for Social Justice (ACSJ) in North-Western Province has urged settlement residents in Solwezi District to participate in local governance as it is their human right.
The organisation is committed to the values of equality and social justice by promoting public life and contribute to the positive change in Governance and the development of African countries.
It will be holding discussions in Kizhingezhinge, Kazomba, Kimasala and Muzabulain Tumvwang’anai settlements to encourage residents to participate in local governance.
The dialogues for concerning the upgrade of the four settlements is being sponsored by CSPP, GFA and GIZ.
ACSJ director for operations Alex Bwaluka said the active participation of the citizens would greatly contribute to the local government.
Mr Bwaluka was speaking during the public dialogue on people’s contribution to formalise and upgrade settlements held at Tumvwang’anai Evangelical Church in Kazomba area.
“The ACSJ is an independent non-profit-making grassroots organisation which studies social problems on the African continent and Zambia, in particular.
“We address them by recommending practical and a workable policy intervention which is why we have come here to hold a hearing to listen to the development you want [to be] brought,” he said.
Mr Bwaluka told the settlers that the organisation was based on the commitment to the democratic values of equality, justice and respect for marginalised populations.
“Our work incorporates essential elements which are research, production and dissemination of information on social justice and related topics; also the struggle for honest and fair politics of service delivery adding a positive transformation through education,” he said.
Mr Bwaluka said ACSJ was trying to give hope and opportunities to communities that were experiencing the worst injustices, that were stigmatised, disadvantaged or needed a voice in development.
ACSJ was working with the Solwezi Municipal Council (SMC) to ensure the development suggestions residents had for the settlements were heard.
Solwezi Municipal Council representative, chief settlement officer Rosaria Chileshe Nkonda, expressed gratitude to ACSJ for its pledge to build and improve a social order based on human rights, equality and justice for every human being.
Ms Nkonda said the district had 13 settlements set earmarked for upgrade for the district to be turned into a city by 2030.
She said the municipality had no intention of relocating the residents but upgrading to the settlements to its standards.
“We are not planning on moving out any one from where they have settled but only want the area upgraded. Therefore, it is your involvement that will ensure the development you suggest,” she said.
Katongo Mutomekubiji, one of the settlers, said garbage was piling up on every corner of the area and that there was no water connection, which was a threat to their health.
He said electricity and a good road network would contribute to the settlement’s upgrade.
Pethius Mupele thanked ACJS for ensuring that citizens participated effectively in sustainable development.