Mpulungu District lies between latitude 9° south of the equator and longitude 31° east of the prime meridian. The district shares international boundaries with Tanzania and district boundaries with Mbala District in the east, Mporokoso District in the south and Nsama District in the south west.
Mpulungu was established in 1997 under statutory instrument No. 118 and 127 of 1997. Before its establishment the district was a sub-district under Mbala since 1927.
The district is 1008Km from Lusaka the capital city of Zambia and 210 Km from Kasama the provincial capital of Northern Province and is 38 Km from the nearest district-Mbala. It lies between. The district covers a total land extent of about 10,170 Square Km²,
According to the 2010 census report, the population of Mpulungu stands at 98 073 with about 50.4% females and 49.6% male and an estimated growth rate of 3.8% and population density of 9.6 persons per square kilometer.
CONSTITUENCIES AND WARDS: Mpulungu District comprises thirteen (13) wards distributed across one (1) Constituency.
The district’s altitude arises from 800 meters to 1250 meters above sea level. There are some places which are 800m below sea level, such as Iyendwe valley. Generally temperatures are between 24 and 34ºC. The highest temperatures are experienced from October to December with average maximum temperature of 29ºC. Temperature drops to as low as 20ºC between June and July, with an average minimum temperature of 22.2ºC.
The district lies within the agro-ecological zone receiving mean annual rainfall of 1000mm to 1200mm. The climate is tropical, cool and dry from May to July, dry and hot from August to October and wet and hot from November to April.
The Chibulula and Mwenda hills form part of the Chilingala Escapement which extends from Musende Bay to the west and Chansamaka Escapement along Lufubu River to Lake Tanganyika forming part of Iyendwe Valley and Muchinga Escapement in the south. Generally, the district is rocky and interspersed with attractive bays along the lakeshore and sandy beaches. The upper land is a plateau dominated by rugged rocky hills, deep valleys and rocky outcrops.
The district is under air by Katanga/Kundelungu geological formations comprising dolomites, limestone, quartlite and slates.
The soils are typical of soil of the Northern plateau. They are medium textured soils overlaying heavier subsoil. The surface soils are red to yellow and often laterite is present in them. The soils are highly reached and are characterized by low fertility, low soil PHI low storage capacity for areas, high phosphorus fixation in wood bound areas. Soils along many river basins are alluvia and sand on beaches along the lake.
The district’s vegetation is generally savanna woodlands both in the valley and the plateau. Some parts of the district are covered by open grassland and woodlands. Many streams have dambos and some flood plain on the Lufubu basin around Chinakila area.
The hydrology system of Mpulungu comprises mainly Lake Tanganyika, Lufubu, Lunzua, Mululwe Rivers, and Izi and Chambezi streams. These rivers and streams flow throughout the year making water available to the inhabitants. Most of the rivers and streams have sources from hills along the lake.
Lake Tanganyika is one of the Great Rift Valley lakes. Its origin is thought to date as far back as 9 to 12 million years ago. It is the deepest fresh water body in Africa and second deepest in the world after Lake Baikal in Russia. It is the second largest lake in Africa after Lake Victoria. Mpulungu district has two islands on Lake Tanganyika namely Mutondwe (Crocodile Island) and Mbita Island.
Lake Tanganyika has about 350-400 described fish species. The main fish species of economical importance includes Buka Buka fish (Lates stapersii) and two cluiped species locally known as Kapenta (Liminothrissa miodon) and Stollothrissa tanganicae. Other fish species of minor importance include Tellipia (Oreochromis tanganicae) known as well as Tanganyika breams, Nkupi popularly known as English fish (Bulengerochromis microlepis), Pande (Hemibates stenosoma) and three species of Nile perches locally known Pamba and Nyumvi.
They are several known mineral deposited in the district. However, there are no geological surveys that have been conducted to establish the mineral coverage and quantities.
The areas with possible mineral deposit include:- Itimbwe Ward with possible mineral deposits at Chika and Chimanga Water Falls (Red Mercury), Isunga Ward at Muchinga Tamina Hills ( Copper and Emeralds), Kapembwa Ward at Chazi seasonal stream (Emeralds), in Katwe Ward at Kambole and Namweleu (Precious Stones, Red Mercury and Oil) In Chisha Ward at Lucheche and Luoshi Streams and Lufuba River (Copper and Gold ), Chibulula at Izi Water falls (Precious stones and Red Mercury), Vyamba Ward at fungala and Chisinzi Mountains ( Precius stones) and Mumila Ward there are possible mineral deposite site at Namweleu, Chipa, Yanda and Chamba (Hamaphite , Quartz and Gold).
Sales of various commodities are usually very high at the beginning of each month following the payment of salaries to workers both in the private and public sectors. Besides, that there is alot of cross border trade going on in the district especially every Fridays when the district receives boats bringing Kapenta. Sales go up during the arrival of the SSV Liemba arrives with more goods for trade in the district.
Trade outflows are mainly dominated by agricultural produce. The major outflows include commodities such as: – beans, maize and cassava. The destinations for these commodities are: Lusaka, Copperbelt, Congo DR, Livingstone, and Tanzania. Others include tourism attractions and related services.
Transport, Input supply and Prices
The transport situation is poor especially on the roads leading to productive areas in the outskirts of the District..
Markets and Shops
There are two active markets within town, Town Market and Ngwenye Market. Both seem to have inadequate space to effectively carter for the expanding population of the District. Due to pressure on the need to trade, many traders have resorted to make-shift shops.
Mpulungu has eight major fishing companies involved in fish processing namely: Great Lakes Products, SAMARAS, St George, Chamuluzi , Capital fisheries, Standard Fisheries, Mpende and Northern Fisheries
Mpulungu has two financial institutions.
There are two types of energy used in Mpulungu namely: – Hydro power and wood fuel. Mpulungu is connected to the National Grid which supplies electricity to majority of fishing companies, government institutions, business houses and households. Besides the national grid the Lunzua hydro power station also generates electricity of about 11kv which is consumed by Zambia Air force and Hospital in Mbala District.
Mobile phone providers in Mpulungu are MTN, Zamtel and AIRTEL. The district also has 1 community radio station
Mpulungu District has only one constituency namely Mpulungu. The constituency is divided into 13 wards namely, Mpulungu central, Katwe, Kapembwa, Vyamba, Isoko, Mumila, Isunga, Itimbwe, Iyendwe, Chisha, Chilumba, Chibulula and Tanganyika.
According to Father Andrezeji Halemba in his English-Mambwe Dictionary and Mambwe Grammar (1989:9-10) the origin of the Lungu people is the Luba or Kola Kingdom in the present day Angola and according to history, Lungu speaking people are part of the East Bantu group.
The Lungu territory follows the South East coastline and the lands to the South of Lake Tanganyika. The Lungu share borders to the North with the Fipa people (Rukwa Region and Sumbawanga in Tanzania) and to the East with the Mambwe people (both in Zambia and Tanzania). The Lungu people share borders with the Bemba tribes and to the West with the Tabwa . The Lungu land of Mpulungu District covers the area from Kalambo water falls up to Zombe area under sub Chief Zombe, it further stretches to four (4) Chiefdoms covering Senior Chief Tafuna (Isoko) Chinakila, Nondo and Chitimbwa up to Mambwe Lufubu River.
There are two predominant traditional ceremonies celebrated in Mpulungu district namely;
The Lungu people celebrate this ceremony at Walamo Traditional space which originally extended from Andreas fishing company and the current Gwenya Market along Lake Tanganyika shore. The ceremony is linked to the succession of Senior Chief Tafuna, by crossing the strip of water from the bank of Lake Tanganyika to Mbita island with the chief’s arms leaning on two boats (with the right arm resting on one boat and the lift arm resting on the left boat. While this is done, the chief’s body is partly submerged in water up to Mbita Island. Its is upon reaching Mbita Island that the Senior Chief Tafuna seeks permission from spiritual ancestors Kapembwa, Mbita and Namukale to rule over Lungu land (Mpu-u- lungu).
Mambwes and Lungu celebrate this ceremony. The ceremony is association with an Agricultural harvest season time. At the ceremony the Chiefs from both Mambwe land and Lungu land bless and taste the first fruits of an agricultural season, after which the rest of the subjects are free to eat the season’s firstling produce. The ceremony usually takes place between April to June each year. The fate of any family eating the firstlings of the season before the chiefs at Mutomolo, is that such a family risked suffering a lot of turbulent and calamities, which in the long run might spread to the community at large.