The misunderstanding that has arisen between communities from Traditional Authority (T/A) Mponda in Mangochi and the District’s Town Council over the council’s alleged mismanagement of funds meant for the construction of a classroom block and toilets at Mpondasi Primary School in the area has compelled Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) to intervene.
Under Local Development Fund (LDF), Mpondasi Primary School was privileged to be one of the projects beneficiaries of the fund; hence the project (it) received communities’ enthusiasm, both to the parents and the pupils.
But contrary to LDF stipulates, the project has stayed over a year without being completed and with poor quality materials making it a
sub-standard structure and this vexed the community to knock to the council’s office for clarification several times but could not be
assisted until Friday last week when they sought CCJP’s assistance.
Secretary of the school management committee, Eliza Mulewa said they have waited patiently for the completion of classroom block but the work stopped and nothing is happening on the ground.
“We smell a rat here. May be the council misappropriated the funds, hence, they are failing to finish the project,” said Mulewa.
“Although unfinished, the structure is sub-standard and even if the work resumes it will not last long,” worried Mulewa.
She said the building started being erected without the committees’ involvement and even now members of the committees don’t know the amount of money for the project.
Added Mulewa: “We don’t know why the council undermined LDF guidelines and procedures. All the procurement, management of project materials and the identification of artisans were done by the council itself.”
In an interview, however, Mangochi Director of Public Works, Dustan Mphonde refused to mention the amount of the project and denied the alleged misapplication of funds but he asked for the people to exercise patience saying the classroom block is almost finished and that it would be handed over to the community soon.
He also said he did not involve the school management committee because they are not necessary.
CCJP Diocesan Secretary for Mangochi Diocese, Bruno Banda said it’s just unfortunate that some District Councils or Town Councils are still undermining LDF guidelines which to the larger extent aim at promoting transparency and accountability and these defeats the whole purpose of decentralization.
Banda said he would convene an interface meeting with the two parties and engage into a dialogue that will help to facilitate the completion of the project.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :