The national planning and development minister of Zambia Lucky Mulusa has intimated his government`s plan to move the capital from Lusaka to Ngabwe district, 120km (75 miles) north of Lusaka. The minister said the cabinet would discuss the move within the next two weeks.
The honourable minister, Mr. Mulusa defended the plan by insisting that Lusaka is not only over-crowded but would be congested within 10 years. This, according to him, would make it difficult for one to conduct businesses effectively in Lusaka. Lamenting about the problems facing the development of Lusaka’s central business district due to restrictions by settlements surrounding it, the Minister further defended the choice of Ngabwe, which to him is well-positioned in the middle of the country. He believes, therefore, that Ngabwe will be a good location for the new capital.
However, opponents have criticised the move. They argue that moving the capital to Ngabwe, which is often inaccessible during the raining season is not a wise decision. They also fear the expected developmental and economic costs involved. Worse still, they argue, Zambia is facing a lot of economic strangulations due to the low price of copper, the country`s major source of income. They wonder, therefore, how the government can finance the project. Yet, others believe there are sinister reasons in the government`s decision. This group believes that moving the capital to Ngabwe is only a systematic way by the government and its cronies to make millions through contracts.
It is not the first time an African country has moved its capital to another town. Both Nigeria (from Lagos to Abuja in 1991) and Tanzania (from Tanzania to Dodoma) did so. While Nigeria has effectively done so, Tanzania is still busy in the process, albeit, slowly.
Let`s hope the attempt by the government of Zambia to move the capital to Ngabwe, is wise and economically beneficial a decision.