27 March 2009

Zambia: Chiefs Reject Lumwana Integrated Development Plan

TWO chiefs in Solwezi have rejected the Lumwana integrated development plan which proposed that the new central business district should be located at Manyama and not Maheba.

House of Chiefs chairman, Chief Mumena and Chief Matebo rejected the final draft of the layout plan presented to stakeholders, arguing that the central business district should be at Maheba instead of Manyama as contained in the plan.

While the two chiefs openly disagreed with the technical committee after the team presented the report during the meeting at Lumwana Mine, Chief Mukumbi appeared non-committal.

The two chiefs supported North-Western Province Permanent Secretary, Eustern Mambwe when he queried the technical committee why Maheba refugee resettlement camp was not a preferred location for the central business district.

Chief Mumena said the technical team drawn from various Government ministries, State House and the local authority to design Lumwana should have taken the central business district to Maheba because it had infrastructure like schools, clinics and roads.

He said he released the land on the understanding that Maheba, which the technical committee has drafted as an agricultural area, would form the central business district but was surprised that the team continued to consider it a greenfield area.

Dr Mambwe, who is the chairman of the steering committee of the Lumwana integrated development plan praised the technocrats for a great job but felt that Maheba was ideal because even the Danish government had already approved funding to improve roads.

Lumwana Mining Company managing director, Harry Michael said there was no need to do a costly brilliant academic exercise that may only remain on paper when the Government could make a saving by starting the town at Maheba.

With tempers almost rising, Dr Mambwe intervened, saying the technical committee would go back and reflect on sentiments raised by chiefs and then call for another meeting.

Lumwana is developing a housing estate and other supportive infrastructure in its mining area for its employees but the new Lumwana town is a Government initiative to develop a sustainable urban environment for the rest of the population in the area.

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