Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism Francis Kasaila and Nsanje district councillors have condemned the operation and management of Local Development Fund in local councils describing it as a new form of slavery which needs to be revised.
The minister made the remarks at an extraordinary full council meeting that was held at the district’s Council Chamber on Monday where the council wanted to adopt a final cycle of Masaf 4 Public Works Project.
In an interview, the minister cited failure to resolve problems from previous experience that the project embarked on as something that the project managers are failing to address.
“We are only trying to raise concerns from beneficiaries that sometimes the decisions made by implementers that it affects people. For example, last time people had to wait for months without pay and walked long distances to the district headquarters receive their pay.
“Changing of beneficiaries where a beneficiary has died is also a difficult process and we thought these are the issues that could be rectified,” said Kasaila.
On their part, the councillors felt the poor management of the LDF could cost them their chances of making it again into office in 2019 as the electorates label them as thieves who embezzle their money at the council and fail to pay workers in time.
They also condemned the tendency where beneficiaries are bedridden to places where they receive their money after work saying this is inhuman and have since called the LDF management to ease the mode of payment to suit rural setting.
Speaking on the same, Senior Chief Malemia urged the LDF management to involve the chiefs so that they are guided on how they can administer and manage their activities.
“What we have observed is that there is management gap, because the people in the village are not in tune with what is happening as far as LDF is concerned.
“So we are saying when you go to the village people want to know how things are going on and when that is not properly explained, we the chiefs are the ones who bear the blunt of all mishap of whatever happens there,” said Malemia.
He said that most times chiefs are not consulted and they are only approached when things go a wrong side.
He asked those who manage the LDF, FISP, and CDF to consult them and work together with Village development Committees, Area Development Committees and all people concerned at local level.
Meanwhile, the LDF officer in the district has assured the full council that he will report the concerns to head office in Lilongwe for smooth running of the projects in future.