The Blantyre City Council (BCC) has shelved off its earlier plans to spend K75 million in buying vehicles for its Chief Executive Officer and Director of Administration after a backlash from the public.
The new development has pleased many city residents calling it sensitive to the wishes of people and a true reflection of their much touted proclamation of ‘Bringing the City Back to The People’.
Said one Ndirande resident: “If it is like that then we need to commend that Management for rescinding that decision otherwise how do they claim to that it is our city when they are denying us development?”
Although there was no specific actions attached to the public outcry towards the condemned K75 million vehicle purchase allocation, Nyasa Times understands that the Blantyre City Council has reallocated the K75m meant for the new two vehicles to various development projects in all the wards in the City.
“Yes, Blantyre City Council just like all other councils has now submitted its 2015/16 Financial Budget to the Local Government Finance Committee but there is no purchase of vehicles for the CEO or Director of Administration,” said a source at the Capital Hill.
During one of its 2015/16 Budget Consultations, the financially struggling Blantyre City Council indicated that it would purchase a K 45m car for its Chief Executive Officer and also buy a new one for its Director of Administration, but when it was made public, there was massive outcry, condemning the insensitive and outrageous appetite for spending on luxury vehicles by the Council.
What annoyed most residents are the fact that the once cleanest city in Africa, is in shambles; failing to provide adequate basic services with the Management claiming that it is due to lack of funds.
Among many failed functions of the local authority, the sewer system is in mess as a day hardly passes with ‘rivers’ of stinking raw sewage, uncollected refuse is everywhere both in residential areas and public places, bushes are everywhere while roads are not marked.
Many people who commented that the council had put its priorities upside down were human rights activist Rafiq Hajat, who argued that there was no proper justification in spending K75m on such a luxury.
“When roads in are in a mess, traffic has become a nightmare, bridges have been washed away, street lights are not working, one must learn to cut one’s suit according to cloth,” Hajat said
Jimmy Nyasulu a resident of the affluent Namiwawa suburb lamented that the Blantyre City Council had put priorities upside down while Joseph Maere described the development as shameless act of embezzlement of funds in line of duty that disregards the needs of the common man.
Ironically, the change of heart by the Council has come about after BCC Chief Executive Officer Ted Nandolo was sent to suspension on other matters.
The Council is being headed by Dr. Alfred Chanza, who was at the Ministry of Labour as Principal Secretary when the decision to allocate the K75m to cater for the two vehicles was being made.
Nyasa Times investigations show that the CEO’s vehicle was purchased after the coming in of Nandolo because the official vehicle of the CEO, a Peugeot 606 bought way back and used by Sophie Kalimba (retired), late Dr. Leyscter Bandawe and Mr. Kawiya (retired) was sold during an auction and it was a Benz previously used by Mayor John Chikakwiya that was acting as CEO’s official vehicle.
Nyasa Times has further established that between 2010 and 2013 the Council had had a luxury of buying three new vehicles for the Director of Administration and two vehicles for Directors of Commerce and Finance while the Hearse it uses was bought two decades ago, there is no construction vehicle like tipper or machines for cutting down trees.
Some quarters allege that BCC Management intends to introduce a system that allows top Managers to possess their official vehicles after a given period, say three years, hence the intention to buy the two new vehicles. The Toyota Prado used by the CEO was bought in 2011.
In the budget, the Council has also shown interest to purchase a Coaster for use by its Counciors.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :