MUKWIMA CHILALA writes
THE Zambia Local Authorities Sports Association (ZALASA) has defended the sending of 600 participants to the Annual Tournament in Southern Province when Government is implementing austerity measures in view of the weak economy.
The organisation was reacting to a social media critic questioning it’s sending of a “huge” delegation to Livingstone to participate in local government organised games.
ZALASA president Christopher Shakafuswa said the organisation had taken note of blogger Nkonkomalimba Kapumpe’s remarks on the Ask Muvi TV Facebook page questioning why the minister of Local Government had to authorise councils to send about 600 participants to the competition.
Shakafuswa, who is Madevu Coucillor, said as much as ZALASA appreciated Kapumpe’s concerns, the councils did the right thing to send participants to the tournament because of the importance of the games.
“We wish to state that the Ministry of Local Government did the right thing to authorise councils to send participants to the Livingstone tournament due to the fact that they understand the importance of the tournament,” he said.
“The nation may be aware that Zambia was awarded the right to host the Southern Africa Inter-municipalities Sports Association (SAIMSA) games this September in Lusaka.”
It was important that local authorities prepared adequately for the games to avoid disappointing the nation.
Shakufuswa said the Livingstone tournament was importance as it would provide an opportunity for councils throughout the country to compete in various sporting activities in readiness for regional games.
He said each council would enter the games as a separate entity, hence the need for each local institution to prepare thoroughly.
Shakufuswa said the benefits of hosting SAIMSA games would outweigh the costs associated with hosting the ZALASA tournament in Livingstone.
“The SAIMSA games are likely to attract over 5,000 participants into the country and Lusaka in particular. These participants will need accommodation, transport, food and sampling of local tourism,” he said.
The services would benefit the citizens who would offer the services with a trickledown effect on the national economy.
Shakufuswa said ZALASA had partnered with almost all the hotels and lodges registered with the Zambia Tourism Agency in Lusaka, as well as car hire operators in providing the necessary services to participants.