The Malawi Government through the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development has released K223, 127,488 Million Local Development Fund (LDF) to Zomba District Council for the implementation of its 2015/2016 development projects.
Out of this amount allocated to the council, 60 percent (K133,876,493) is going to be used for wages while the remaining 40 percent (K89,250,995) will cater for administration costs such as for materials, inputs and running costs.
The K223 Million is expected to reach to over 18, 500 beneficiaries in the district and implementation of this year’s LDF will commerce on January 18, 2016.
The funding will focus on Afforestation, Land Resource Conservation, Village Access Roads, Small Scale Irrigation Facilities, Aquaculture and Small Scale Infrastructure-rehabilitation of school blocks, clinics and bridges.
During the presentation ceremony, Ward Councillors hit out at their chiefs for corruption during beneficiary based projects which leaves out more beneficiaries out of the project.
Speaking after presentation of Public Works Programme at the Council Chamber, Councillor Rodgers Masala for Ulumba ward and the Parliamentarian for Zomba Ntonya Constituency Charles Thikiwa said 50 percent of LDF money which government allocates to the council does not reach beneficiaries due to selfish and corrupt leaders in the community.
Councillor Masala said with the current situation, there are a lot of problems under Public Works Programme which leave out other people from benefiting from the programme.
He pointed out at chiefs as the ones playing a negative role in bringing down the developments in the district because of selfish and corrupt acts when implementing different projects.
Thikiwa alleged that Members of Parliament were told about Public Works Programme in November last year yet the district council had no data of beneficiaries.
‘’We were told in Parliament in November 2015 about the programme but identification and registration of beneficiaries is yet to be done making the process fragile and creating loopholes for ghost beneficiaries, ’’said Thikiwa.
He also argued that Zomba District Council should have data readily available. In reaction to the concerns, Zomba District Commissioner Bennet Nkasala agreed that sometimes projects come like emergencies and that Parliament already discussed the issue but the council received the communication on Monday January 11, 2016.
‘’As district council, we cannot start registration of beneficiaries only on transactions from Parliament. The council only acts on official communication from relevant authorities because it may cause confusion for the council to register people yet government has not confirmed the project, ‘’said Nkasala.
Nkasala added that government has made the decision for the speedy process to help vulnerable families amidst the hunger that has hit the country because of floods and dry spells experienced last growing season.
The District Commissioner also said warned chiefs that the council will suspend any chief involved in corruption and related malpractices.
He added that chiefs should be there for bringing development in their areas not oppressing the poor people.
He said ‘’I will not tolerate corrupt chiefs because the chieftaincy Act is very clear that the chief should serve his or her subjects honestly , otherwise he may be suspended and replaced by someone from the family.’’
In his remarks, Vice Chairman of the Council Chikumbutso Likandawe also said that they have a great role to play in making sure that there is fair administration in the implementation of the Public Works Programme in the district.
Member of Parliament for Zomba Chingale Wallace Chawawa pleaded with government to consider long term projects for beneficiaries (like 3 years) because some Non-Governmental Organizations programmes only implement three-month projects which fail to cover vulnerability aspects of poor Malawians.