Party of National Unity (PNU) president Highvie Hamududu says it would be irresponsible for Zambia to move its capital city to Ngabwe leaving problems in Lusaka.
Commenting on Minister of National Planning Lucky Mulusa’s intentions to move Zambia’s capital to Ngabwe, Hamududu observed that the country did not have resources to carry out such an operation.
“We cannot run away from Lusaka, leave a problem in Lusaka and go to Ngabwe? That would be irresponsible. Even if Zambia had money and they want to move the capital city it would be irresponsible to leave Lusaka disorganized and go elsewhere and start another problem, no!” Hamududu exclaimed.
“We need to modernize Lusaka, re-plan it to be a city of the future and Lusaka has a potential I can tell you. Do you know what it costs to put an airport? Does Zambia have money to go and put up another airport? We are using borrowed money for the expansion of the airport, so we have land marks in Lusaka that are difficult to replicate.”
The PNU leader moving the capital city would incontinence many.
“If Ngabwe has some special features, honorable Mulusa must think outside the box. Perhaps he can propose a resort town and investors can put money there. Not to move a capital, embassies and so on. Do you know how much money American Embassy have put in to put up an embassy there? You will inconvenience many. But Ngabwe can be a resort town in Zambia if you have some extra cash you can put in a holiday home there. So for my friend Mulusa’s suggestion, Ngabwe is not for a capital, he can go to plan B like a resort town and let it be built by investors, not government money, No,” Hamududu insisted.
“It is a misplaced priority because the country does not have a bucket of resources to entertain the change of a capital city. We have enough challenges with the existing city that needs serious face lift and re-planning. Secondly, Ngabwe is not central, you must understand why Lusaka was picked as a capital city, it was picked for its easy connectivity. Landing in Lusaka here, you easily go to Western province, you easily go to Eastern province, Northern and Southern. So Lusaka is at the right junction in terms of connectivity to the main places of our country.”
Hamududu said Lusaka was not a lost cause and he suggested ways in which it could be revived.
“Lusaka is not a lost cause, what we need to do with Lusaka is to dismember it. The Central Business District (CBD) that was planned originally was meant to cater for about 400,000 people and if you go to central Lusaka, it is well planned, if you look at Cairo road as you come to Rhodes Park, as you come to Long Acres, High Court, it was spaciously planned but the problem is, as the town was expanding, we did not concurrently expand the plans, meaning the Lusaka planned area should have over the years been extended,” Hamududu said.
“What is happening now, Lusaka is being enveloped by unplanned developments but it is not a lost cause, planning can be rolled out to cover these areas for example perhaps to dismember Lusaka into five (i) Central Lusaka main municipality, (ii) Lusaka east gate sub-municipality somewhere in Chongwe, (iii) North gate sub-municipality somewhere say in Katuba, South gate sub-municipality in the areas of Shimabala, in the west as well. So you can have four sub municipality and at the centre we can have one main one, Lusaka central main municipality.”
He added that Lusaka’s population was not beyond control.
“The other thing is that Lusaka does not have a bigger population to disinvest. There must be very good fundamentals for moving a capital city and one of them is a bigger population and, Lusaka’s population is not beyond control. What we need is to expand the planning. Let all these developments be under the ambit of planning…the suggestion by Clive Chirwa (former Zambia Railways Managing Director) was correct that we must sink the Zambia railways and reclaim the land on top,” said Hamududu.
“We do not even need money for that, it is self financing. The same investors who can dig, you can trade the tunnel down with the land on top. So the payment for the tunnel is the land on top and put a new style there. In the next three five years we will have a new Lusaka. What we need is formalization, let this land be formal then it will have value. People must be given titles for the land and once they are given titles, they can even sale it to bigger developers, so let us modernize Lusaka.”