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Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Dismal performance of councils in Zambia

Columns Dismal performance of councils in Zambia

Today, I would like to crack a whip at councils in our beloved country -Zambia. If I had a way, I would in fact order council officials to strip-off so that I can lash them hard on their bare backs in order to inflict as much pain as possible! We can’t afford to remain quite when we are writhing in agonizing pain at failure by councils to provide basic service facilities to residents, particularly children, in our cities and townships such as play parks.

Growing up in the dusty Township of Ndeke, Kitwe early 1980s, I remember we had designated play parks in every locality. During our free time, we would flock to play parks in droves to engage in energy sapping games such as ichidunu, akabwambe, cops and robbers etc. Although we ended up earning a few strokes from our parents back home at the end of the day for soiling our clothes, we had no scruples about it.

Next day, we would be back at the same place doing what we were good at – hunting down robbers in the thickets or being hunted down by uncompromising cops! Engaging in exhilarating outdoor activities definitely helped us not to grow up as weaklings that would easily pee in their pants at the sight of a frog! It was such a wonderful experience.And whenever I have chance to drive around my childhood neighborhood, I always look back to those memorable days with nostalgia.

But alas today, while some play parks which were left behind by our colonial masters in affluent areas such as Riverside, Parklands and North rise have still been maintained, every available portion of land in the townships has been allocated as residential or commercial plots. Do councils care about our children in the townships? This is a clear case of greed and lack of creativity and innovation on the part of councils. Do they surely want our kids to remain trapped in living rooms glued to TV all the while so that their minds can be inundated with the trash that spews-out of there, at times?

If Sir Evelyn Hone was to be raised from the dead today, I am sure he would be shocked at the level of town planning or lack of it. These days there are no places for our kids to hang about during their free time and couples can’t find a quiet place to take leisurely walks on Sunday afternoons to unwind.

Who is the current Minister of Local Government? Whoever it is, they ought to take charge now or they expect the President to intervene as is now seemingly the norm. We expect whoever is Local government Minister to immediately sit down with the Town clerks and Mayors and start dreaming together to restore sanity in our cities and townships. The remaining play parks in the townships must be left intact and additional ones must be created. The cartels that have been formed within councils whereby officials and councilors are allocating themselves vast tracks of land in the townships and later sold to unsuspecting members of the public at exorbitant prices must also be brought to end, immediately.

By Prince Bill M. Kapinga

15 COMMENTS

  1. Indeed the Councils need to improve and not wait for the President to intervene.Our hard working President Lungu has for instance sorted out very well the retirement age issue under labour….he is an intelligent man.The opposition who wanted to gain political mileage out of it are deflated…..every one in the nation is happy.Mr Muyembe of Professional Teachers Union explained this morning on radio 2 the many advantages of this move.UP and Down party should find a new topic.Am sure even for councils,the President will give us the best sooner or later.

    • No matter how much time you give a clueless CEO to figure out why the company is underperforming, they will never come up with an accurate explanation.

      Similarly, no matter how much time you give PF, these guys are ignoramus, they have no idea on how to fix Zambia`s economy. They`ve messed up the country but they`ve no clue on the way out!

      The crisis in Zambia is a complex one. Just like a person who has cocktail of diseases, the Zambian economy is saddled in a mix of complex factors that require sophisticated minds to fix.

      The solution for Zambia is to boot out PF and let smart brains run the country, otherwise Zambia is headed for disaster.

    • I agree with you 100% about lack of recreational facilities in our cities and towns. When I was about 4 yrs old in the late 80’s, my elder brothers and sisters would trek me to the “REC” area and library in kitwe. By the time I was 7, I could swim, play badminton, hockey and tennis and could read the newspaper. Now all the parks are churches and beer halls. Swimming pools are full of tadpoles and every building next to them is a guest house. Cry my beloved country!

  2. You are spot on Prince.The minister must start demolishing those houses built on land meant for play-parks without compensation.We have organizations which are prepared to run play-parks but the councils are not interested in partnering,all they are interested in are plots & plots.The problem is our councils are run by people who are not exposed.Why don’t we tween our cities & towns with developed countries in order to learn that a city/Town is not all concrete.

  3. @JAPHET,ECL has brought more confusion in the retirement age.The multiple choice being give to would be retires is not going to serve this country well.a.) 55 years b.)60 years c.)65 years!!!.Retire at 55 years & do something of your own,better create jobs for your children.

  4. I am a Director of Planning for one of the Municipalities in Zambia.

    I wish to commend the writer if the article fir a job welcome! It is spot on! Other than the physical planning part well emphasized he has left out other recreational areas such as neglected and dilapidated community halls, failure to maintain or own council libraries and a few other areas.

    We have also forsaken sports activities in general today.

    But what has led to this? Despite our university syllabus remaining the same? The points are many but have patience to go thru a few I have suggested so that we debate:
    1). The detaching if water from councils without the Ministry approving mechanisms to effect our shareholding status renders all councils to fail to greeny the playparks and town open spaces
    2)…….

  5. Comrades, where did we get this get-rich-quick notion? We go grabbing every plot we meet on our way. Turning your country into a man-eat-man society. Getting one billionare at the expense of 1000 paupers. In Kenya we are demolishing storeyed buildings worth billions on illegally aquired land. Mind your future generations first and do not be cowed by these bellied hooligans. Seek for justice for all.

  6. ……2). The sale of council houses left all Local Authorities with no sustainable source of income
    3). The promotion of party cadres to harass any difficult officer who wants to promote law and order has rendered our jobs as planners useless. This has promoted planning of the belly among unethical officers.
    4). The detaching and scrapping of many leving including motovehicle licences, crop levy, property rates for govt buildings, etc, from councils has left a poor revenue vase.

    I have more but unless I write an article!

  7. No matter how much time you give a clueless CEO to figure out why the company is underperforming, they will never come up with an accurate explanation.

    Similarly, no matter how much time you give PF, these guys are ignoramus, they have no idea on how to fix Zambia`s economy. They`ve messed up the country but they`ve no clue on the way out!

    The crisis in Zambia is a complex one. Just like a person who has cocktail of diseases, the Zambian economy is saddled in a mix of complex factors that require sophisticated minds to fix.

    The solution for Zambia is to boot out PF and let smart brains run the country, otherwise Zambia is headed for disaster..

  8. Dont blame councils but politicians especially those in govt.ministers are like military commanders,they minute ministers get the job .2-3 months later we see them owning plots.so u expect the council employees who are used by these ministers not to get a plot?we need clean politicians for zambia to look like the 70 and 80s.

  9. Councils in Zambia are sad. They collect money from residents but there are no services provided. Why do we pay land rates to the council? What in principle are the rates supposed to cover?
    The attitude of most LCC council workers is that of u helpfulness so that they can be bribed.it is indeed sad that the councils. No procedures are laid out in departments.this is a way of fining customers. The councils are not informative but very quick to fine people for offences which are not made public.

  10. Decentralize. Local authorities in their current state are useless. That’s why they have to wait for a minister or the President to make simple decisions as putting up traffic lights. Their budgets are financed by central treasury. When was the last time anyone of you attended a committee or full council meeting and helped in planning for your municiplity.

  11. thanks Mr. writer. you forgot one important issue= lack of cleanness in our cities. Sata who legalised street vending is dead. now it is time for councils to be aggressive and tell even Changwa that he should not interfere in the process of restoring sanity in our cities. Did we take pride in seeing Livingstone looking clean through the photos we saw on this blog?

  12. Expecting the current party in power to reverse this trend is more than asking too much. These are the reasons behind;
    1. PF as a party has no proper planning in place
    2. PF believes in borrowing their way out of underdevelopment, which will result in a negative outcome of being indebted.
    3. Pf has advance cadres in front of all their activities hence, these cadres are paying themselves through land reallocation
    4. A number of PF leaders are poor and want more money in their pockets as per their slogan
    5. PF is a short term oriented party, hence the issue of looking at children welfare is far fetched for them

  13. I remember on several occasions trekking to Mtendere council Library to read newspapers and other story books. But someone told me that the Library has since been turned into a house. I don’t know how true this is?

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