Karonga District Council has fired a warning shot to politicians against using the community managed social economic (CMSE) funded projects the council has implemented in the district for campaign in the run up to May 21 polls.
The director of planning and development (DPD) Robert Phiri issued the warning after a media tour to six out of nine structures that community members identified and constructed using the K4 billion government disbursed last year.
“The money used in these projects came from government. Therefore, using these structures as a campaign tool would be unfair to the public because this is the public money,” Phiri said.
Asked what lessons has the council and the community have learnt from these projects, Phiri said new guidelines for the project needed community members to identify projects to be carried in their areas, the contractor, buying of materials and monitoring the project while the council provided technical guidance.
Phiri said the only challenge that they encountered was the delay by some area development committee (ADC) members in coming up with needed projects as they could not agree on which projects to implement.
“We are happy that the council’s allocation was about K98.4 million which the five constituencies shared equally. And each constituency got about K19.6 million that each ADC used for various projects ranging from market shelters, road upgrading, bridges to health facility related projects,” Phiri said.
The DPD patted himself on the back, saying after the project his office was happy to have helped the community members get structures such as rehabilitation of the OPD section at Kaporo rural hospital and Mwakaboko ADC office in Karonga north while Karonga northwest constituency used the funds to construct Mbande ADC and Mangwera Bridge.
According to Phiri, Karonga Nyungwe constituency identified Ngara market shelter which cost K12.9 million and reshaped and upgraded two feeder roads to the tune of K3 million while Karonga central settled for Lupembe waiting shelter for expectant mothers at Lupembe health centre.
Speaking on behalf of the five ADCs, chairperson for Kilupula ADC Nelson Mwakisulu said the CMSE funds helped the community members to have health service delivery restored at Kaporo rural hospital after Medical Council of Malawi (MCM) had closed it due to poor sanitation and hygiene.
While at Ngara market, the market’s vice chairperson Dickson Mwangolera heaped praises on the government for the shelter, saying it will help both sellers and buyers to do business at a conducive place.
“We are grateful as this area is a cholera prone place as such doing business at an open place posed high danger of waterborne diseases such as cholera. But with this structure we will be safe from both sunshine and rains,” Mwangolera said.