By ALICE NACHILEMBE
The renowned philanthropist Bill Gates says ‘if you are born poor it’s not your mistake, but if you die poor it’s your mistake.’
The quote above is what has motivated Chililabombwe Mayor Christabel Mulala Mwanja to wade through hurdles of rural life and later graduate from some of Zambia’s elite higher institutions of learning.
Born and raised in a rural set up by parents who were peasant farmers Ms Mulala believes that more women can make it to the top once they realize their potential.
A Teacher by profession Ms Mulala encourages women to be hard workers and use their challenges as strengths to excel and climb the ladder of success.
Her emphasis is on Education as an equalizer.
She realizes that women these days are running into marriages for security reasons especially those who are growing up in rural set up.
She urges women to know that marriage is not a solution, instead they should get married because they are ready and will be happy in marriage.
“It is high time that women realized that they can also excel when they are educated. I’m coming from a rural set up and I passed through economic hard ships but I excelled because I wanted to be educated.
“Girls should work hard at school so that they become better people in future,” she said.
Being a working woman for years, Ms Mulala knows that a woman should not just be waiting for her husband to bring food on the table but she should also contribute financially towards the family wellbeing.
She says getting married as a full time house wife without an education makes women fail to contribute to their families.
Being a hard worker she believes that hard work is a recipe for excelling.
The community identified her because of her hard work. She believes that only a hard working woman with a fighting and never give up spirit excels.
She has risen through ranks in her teaching profession from being Head of Department to Deputy Head and encourages more women to join in politics and work hard at it.
Women have recently risen to high positions in many different sectors with Copperbelt boasting of two female Mayors, Ms Mulala herself and Kalulushi Mayor Rashida Mulenga.
Passionate about seeing girls excel, Ms Mulula says no girl should envy a woman with a baby on her back.
Every woman’s dream is to get married but girls should say no to marriage if they have not completed school.
Marriage isn’t a guarantee of a brighter future.
Born in Luanshya on August 10, 1959 Ms Mulala did her primary school at Fisenga primary school from 1966 to 1972 and went to Ibenga Secondary School until Form Three when she was transferred to Mukinge Secondary School where she completed Form Five in 1977 and went for national service at Zambia National Service.
In 1979 she was selected to go to Nkrumah Teachers College now Nkrumah University where she completed her teaching course.
Upon completion in 1981 she was posted to Chililabombwe Secondary School, the only secondary school in Chililabombwe at the time.
From there she had risen from the rank of Head of Department Expressive Art and Promoted to Deputy Head at Twikatane Primary School.
In 2011 she was transferred to Chililabombwe Secondary School. In 2014 she was promoted as Deputy Head but later that year she resigned and joined politics.
“I gained my political momentum when I was working for the Constituency Development Fund (CFD) committee.
I was recognized by former Chililabombwe Member of Parliament Ester Banda who pushed my entry into politics and I easily found the limelight.
I also used to assist a lot in the district in terms of organizing events like Youth Day, Labour Day and Women’s Day among others.
“In all this I leant that voluntary work is a key ingredient to leadership because by doing such charity works you expose yourself to the people and show your leadership abilities,” she said.
In 2016 she was adopted on PF ticket for Mayoral position and she was elected.
Being a female politician she succumbs to the challenges that come with politics especially that she is a woman. However, she is able to deal with them because she is hard working.
“Politics is interesting and critics are there. When they criticize, you have to check yourself. There is no leader who has never been criticized. If you aren’t criticized then you are a dead cause. When people talk about certain issues you check on them and sometimes you find that you didn’t see the mistake.
Ms Mulala with her late husband Gabriel Mulala who she still dearly loves in death, has five children: two boys and three girls. The first born is a teacher at Chililabombwe Secondary School, the second born works at Mulonga Water & Sewerage Co while the third born is working with Chililabombwe Municipal Council.
She says her fourth born did power electrical at Northern Technical College (NOTEC) while the last born completed Grade 12 in 2015 and has been selected to study medicine at the University of Zambia.
With the heart for the less privileged she has been keeping and feeding older women.
She also helps the vulnerable children in communities to pay school feels.
“I’m determined to leave something. I will be remembered for as a woman who changed the face of Chililabombwe especially in infrastructure development.
“I wish to see a developed Chililabombwe before leaving office in terms of infrastructure development especially at a government boarding school, a school for the disabled and then I will be able to say I worked,” she said.
Her vision is to leave Chililabombwe Municipal Council with housing units which are affordable for people.
“We need a clean environment and we shall strive towards that path too as we intend to create more markets for our people,” she said.