Potipher Tembo: Aspiring MP ‘for everyone’ in Chawama

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    THOSE who are often on Facebook and are interested in politics may have come across Potipher Tembo’s charity postings.

    He has been distributing eggs and other foodstuffs to help the needy in Chawama Constituency. He has done this for close to four years now.

    Tembo is a household name in Chawama and is this year seeking to run as the constituency’s member of parliament on the UPND ticket.

    In fact, this will be the second time the 49-year-old will be contesting the Chawama seat.

    He first ran in the 2016 general elections, on the UPND ticket, and emerged second with 16,090 votes.

    Chiefs and traditional affairs minister Lawrence Sichalwe is the current Chawama PF member of parliament.

    Here, Tembo shares his biography and plans for the constituency.

    I was born on 4 October 1972 in Jeremiah village, Nyimba district IN Eastern Province. My father and mother are still alive and are in Nyimba…. I was born in Jeremiah village but grew up in Ben villaget,” he says.

    “We are a family of eight, five boys and three are girls. I went to Nyimba Primary School up to Grade seven and I went to Nyimba Secondary School.”

    Tembo then went to study journalism at Evelyn Hone College in Lusaka and obtained a certificate in 1996.

    His other tertiary credentials include a diploma in banking and finance.

    “I’m a member of Bankers Association of Zambia. I have also done psycho-social counselling in Zambia. I also did diplomacy and international relations,” he explains. “I have a honorary degree in political science from Gideon Robert University in Zambia.”

    Tembo is married to Cheelo Mutibelo and the couple has two children.

    He has been a resident of Chawama since he arrived from Nyimba district in 1994.

    In the 2011 general elections, Tembo was elected as Chawama ward two PF councillor.

    The member of parliament at the time was Edgar Lungu.

    Tembo notes that at the time, there was only one tarred road in the ward – Chifundo road.

    “But we did many other tarred roads – about 11 tarred roads – which are still there,” he says.

    “We also did paved roads. As you may remember, before Mr [Michael] Sata died, he had rolled out the Pave Zambia Project. It was launched in Chawama at the time I was the councillor. We also did several other projects like Embassy Police Post, Chawama Police Station.”

    In 2014, Tembo was elected deputy mayor of Lusaka, according to him, based on good performance.

    “I was deputy to Mulenga Sata. I ended up teaming with other councillors and in Misisi there was Lawrence Sichalwe and we put up Misisi Police Post. I proceeded to Chawama ward three, which is John Howard, and put up John Howard Police Post,” he says.

    “Down in Lilayi, which is Chawama ward four, we put up Lilayi clinic and a number of projects. In 2015 I acted as Lusaka mayor for about six months, because Mr Mulenga Sata, was directly affected with the death of his father – president Sata.”

    He highlights that insofar as being adopted by the UPND in Chawama, all indications are looking bright.

    I’m a frontrunner now. I can safely say that I’m there to serve. I have no time to antagonize anyone. I’m not a violent politician, but one who is issued-based,” Tembo notes.

    “I’m an inclusive leader – for Christians, Muslims, Hindus and those that don’t pray.”

    He pledges that he wants to bring a secondary school in Chawama Constituency.

    “Chawama Constituency has no secondary school since independence. So the time for Chawama to have a secondary school has come,” Tembo says.

    “We’ll turn Chawama Primary School into a secondary school, because we may not have land. I also intend to put up a library in Chawama, something which I had started to do.”

    He believes that once a library is built in Chawama, it will lessen the trend of pupils travelling into town to study and also to carry out research.

    “I also want to make sure that Kuku mini-stadium which was built is used by everyone. Currently, the fees for using the mini-stadium are so exorbitant for poor teams that they are still using a poor ground at Chawama Primary School,” Tembo says.

    “So we’ll re-negotiate with the developer. We are aware that there is a PPP (public private partnership) arrangement. We’ll have to review it and ensure that our teams use the stadium because that’s their facility. We want to revert to old days in sport when we produced players.”

    Tembo says given an opportunity to serve as member of parliament, he will initiate empowerment programmes for vulnerable women and youth groups.
    “I’m in the opposition but I’m [already] busy trying to help here and there,” says Tembo.

    ©Kalemba/Mwebantu March 12, 2021

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