We can’t afford new districts – Sinkamba

Green Party president Peter Sinkamba says it is worrying that government under the Patriotic Front (PF) leadership is operating on impulse without clear policy direction.

And Sinkamba says it is pointless to create new districts which cannot be provided with the necessary infrastructure due to budget deficits.

Commenting on President Edgar Lungu’s pronouncement he would soon create more districts in an interview yesterday, Sinkamba advised government to focus on implementing the 7th National Development Plan (7NDP).

“For us as Green Party, we are extremely worried with the operations of our colleagues in government, the PF, because instead of having policy direction in terms of how to deal with issues, they operate on impulse where someone just comes up with a programme and makes it a national issue which is very wrong. You see, as a nation we have a way of dealing with issues including the creation of those Ministries, Provinces and Districts. For example we have got the 7th National Development Plan (7NDP) which was launched recently and the plan is the one which is supposed to guide us as to what programmes we are going to run in the next five years,” Sinkamba said.

He reminded President Lungu that the country did not have enough resources to create more districts as there were more pressing needs.

“That plan was launched only last month and I cannot remember anywhere in the plan where it is indicated that more and more districts will be created now. So really, we fail to understand and already our economy is constrained, we have a situation where we have huge deficits. So the best that government needs to do at the moment is to follow what the Constitution says, our Constitution tells us that we need dissolve power from central government to local government and first of all starting with provincial decentralization and ending with district decentralization,” Sinkamba said.

And Sinkamba said there was need to build infrastructure in the recently created districts before considering the creation of new ones.

“Well maybe let me put it like this, if you are failing to provide for five children as a parent does it really make sense to have more children again when you cannot manage to run five? That’s the question. So if you can’t manage 83 districts stop creating more and sort out these ones which are already there. Let them operate as districts not like tuntemba arrangements, let them operate the way a district is supposed to run because it’s not just supposed to be the name to say this is a district and yet there is no supporting infrastructure to talk about,” he said.

“There is nothing to show that this is a district even in the already existing districts they just want to make to a name. Look at Ngabwe for example which was created some years ago by the late President Sata, what is there to talk about in Ngabwe? The staff members have still not moved to Ngabwe because there is no infrastructure there, how many years gone? It’s almost five years gone since that district was created and there is nothing to show for it. And we cannot increase on the return of such kinds of districts, I think we need to be serious about all these issues.”

Sinkamba emphasized that government would only create more mess if it went ahead with creating new districts.

“Our view is that if there is any need for us to create any district at the moment, first of all let’s shelf those ideas and focus more on decentralization, let’s have all these provincial capitals start manning the central government business and let’s give the responsibility of those provincial administration to plan as to whether create any districts or not but looking at the current status of most of these new districts, a lot of them lack any resources to talk about. For example when you go to Luafwanyama on the Copperbelt there is nothing to talk about as a district. They are failing to run the affairs properly, so why not invest in those kinds of districts with deficit? Even those urban ones if you see the status of these so called districts like Kalulushi, Mufulira, they are in a serious dilapidated status. So our view is that first of all sort out your mess at the moment don’t create more mess because that is not the proper way of running a country, said Sinkamba.

Mirriam Chabala

About Mirriam Chabala

Mirriam Chabala is a Zambian journalist who covers current affairs and writes in-depth feature articles on social issues.
Email: mirriam [at] diggers [dot] news

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