…as indaba faces water crisis

THREE days before the extra-ordinary Patriotic Front convention the Mulungushi Rock of Authority is still without water.

Government, through the Ministry of Education has given Mulungushi University in Kabwe K12.5 million to hastily build a waterline to connect the university to the Kohima Barracks water system about 10km away to provide water to the Patriotic Front conference opening tomorrow.

The critical water shortage which has hit the Mulungushi Rock of Authority where the ruling party insists it must hold its convention to elect a presidential candidate in the January 2015 election, forced the university to close.

The university is reported to have hastily engaged Lukanga Water and Sewerage Company (LgWSC) in a K12.5 million project to try and ensure that some pipes are connected from the nearby Kohima Barracks to ferry water to the institution for the event but Central Province permanent secretary Edwidge Mutale said the ongoing works had nothing to do with the PF convention.

Last week, Acting President Guy Scott announced that the general conference would cost K2.5 million. But now it seems Government had to step in and bail out the party conference with K12.5 million to provide water to the conference venue.

Mrs. Mutale, who confirmed that excavators have been hired for the works stated that the project was an ongoing exercise aimed at finding a lasting solution to the water problems. The PS said that it was only coincidental that the project was being carried out at the time the PF convention was taking place. She confirmed having gone to check on the ongoing works at the institution.

She however said that as the top civil servant in the province, she had a duty to ensure that the Acting President Guy Scott and Government ministers coming to the convention were accommodated in a good environment.

The delegates are expected to begin arriving in Kabwe today and tomorrow.

Mrs Mutale said the excavators were hired by LGWSC but did not disclose how much was involved. Efforts to get a comment from both Mulungushi University Vice chancellor Professor Hellicy Ngambi and LgWSC managing director WencyslouvMakondo failed as both officials were said to be in separate meetings.

The university, with less than 2,000 students where the Rock of Authority is located, was prematurely closed in early October but the PF convention is expected to be attended by over 5,000 delegates from across the country.

Central Province police commissioner Standwell Lungu confirmed that the ruling party has notified police, in line with the Public Order Act.

However, Kabwe Municipal Council public relations manager Annie Mumba warned recently that it was unhealthy to keep over 5,000 people in an area which did not have water and adequate sanitation facilities.