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