JOHN KOMBE writes

@SunZambian

My names are, Kapichila Chawinga, councillor for Ntandabale ward in Chongwe constituency. I am happily married and we have 2 children.

My highest academic qualification is a diploma in Business Management.

The Sun: When did you join politics and when did you become councillor?

I joined active politics in 2005 and contested for the position of councillor for Ntandabale ward in 2016. I scooped the seat and I serve the community in the same capacity.

My journey in politics began just after I completed my secondary school education. I wanted to contribute to the governance of our country. My inspiration was driven by the desire to make a difference in society when I still had the energy and zeal.

Of course, I have always wanted to be of service to the community. I find this opportunity to serve as councillor as one way of fulfilling my dream.

The journey has not been easy because the people place great demand on civic leaders. However, I am equal to the task because my journey in politics was motivated by the earnest desire to serve the community. 

The Sun: What are some of the Challenges that you face in your ward and what are some of your successes?

Ntandabale ward has a number of challenges which include: undeveloped feeder roads, lack of clean water in some areas, lack of clinics and a conducive trading place for marketeers.

However, we have managed to sink some boreholes in some areas. We are also in the process of constructing a clinic and right now we are just looking for land. Our hardworking area MP Mr. Japhen Mwakalombe has promised to lobby for this project. The nearest police station is also not within reach so we hope to lobby government for a police post. The residents have to cover long distances to access police services.

Our roads are not as good, but we are privileged to have been considered in the township road projects taking place in Chongwe. We will soon have 5.2km of township roads upgraded to bituminous standards.

During my tenure in office, we have seen a number of projects actualised. For example, we have constructed a computer laboratory and we are currently working on 1X2 science laboratory block at Silverest Secondary School. The project is being undertaken using the Ward Development Fund. We are so grateful for the kind donation of President Lungu who helped us with some funds towards the project which was now at 75 percent of completion.

Other notable projects in my ward are: the construction of a milling plant which is at 60 percent completion, the Tazara Memorial Park and the ongoing works at Kenneth Kaunda International airport. Our ward is strategically positioned and as such the infrastructure development projects being undertaken will help to further create employment, increase economic activities and beautify the area. The Tazara Memorial Park, for example, will bring in tourists who will provide employment for the local entrepreneurs who will be compelled to respond to the demand for hospitality services such as accommodation.

One other infrastructure development is in the area of higher education is that the University of Lusaka is constructing university campus in the ward.  This will not only create employment for the locals, but will also add beauty to the ward. The project is in its advanced stage and we thank UNILUS for bringing this monumental project to our ward.

The Sun: What other positions do you hold aside from your role as Councillor

In terms of political positions in the Patriotic Front, I am PF district youth vice chairman. The PF party has been very instrumental in promoting inclusion of youthful leadership. For this, I am grateful and pledge to uphold my integrity so as to be a role model to the young people of Chongwe and beyond.

My political journey has been worth the sacrifice. I acknowledge the many challenges along the way, but I have been motivated to continue soldiering on as this was the sure way to success. The passion for service is my anchor and I do not see myself quitting any time soon or later. I want to be remembered as a person who ably represented the community without fear or favour. 

The Sun: Do you hold any other ambitions aside from being civic leader in your area?

Do I have any ambitions? Of course, I do. We all have ambitions as long as we live. My ambition is to be of service to the community and be their voice in representing them at the highest level possible.

Being a councillor comes with a lot of demands, but the remuneration is far from meeting these demands. I can only hope that God will bless me with other sources as of income so that I can help to meet some urgent community needs as they come. I am of the view that a civic leader must be innovative so as to look beyond the government coffers. In this regard, I also do a small private business to supplement on my local government allowance. This has been very helpful in helping me meet the logistical demands of this office.

The community has certain demands which cannot wait for a full council meeting resolution or government funding. People have funerals and the first ‘saviour’ is the councillor. Even when they have other needs such as school fees and lack of food at home, the councillor is perceived as a sure helper. This is even more real in peri-urban and rural communities like Chongwe. These challenges call for a civic leader with an entrepreneurship mind, otherwise one may just fail and quit.

The Sun: In the midst of challenges in the course of duty have you ever felt like quitting?

Have I ever felt like quitting? No, not at all, I have severally felt frustrated when things are not working out as I wish, but quitting is not my portion. What keeps me going is the passion to serve my community and if possible, I should sacrifice like a slave to meet the community needs. 

The Sun: Are there people that motivate you and who you look up to in your career?

Are there people who inspire me to serve? Yes. I can particularly mention our Mayor, Mr. Geoffrey Chumbwe, Our area MP, Mr. Japhen Mwakalombe and our district PF chairman, Mr. Evans M’hambi who is also our deputy mayor. These people are an inspiration to us youthful politicians who have just be in stage.  Their commitment to community service, love for people and great leadership is an admiration. They have provided leadership to us as young politicians. The party leaders at all levels in the district have been very supportive and their faith and confidence in the young leaders is highly commendable.

I can, therefore, challenge my fellow youths not to despairbut to stand up and be counted now and not tomorrow. Our time to participate in the affairs of our country is now. This does not mean that, we should fight for positions, but our work must speak for us. We need to live lives of integrity so that we can earn the people’s trust. Without this, no one will entrust us with leadership.

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