Differences between District Commissioner (DC) for Neno, Memory Kaleso Monteiro and District Social Welfare Officer, Peter Magomero have spiraled and now affecting efficiency in service delivery in the district.
There has been bad blood between the two public officers since the inception of the Social Cash Transfer Program (SCTP) in the district in 2014, however, the past six months has seen the relationship worsening to the extent of exchanging revolting text messages.
The Malawi News Agency (MANA) understands that the rift grew following the scramble on who was to control a vehicle allocated to the district for SCTP activities as both officers wanted to be in-charge of the vehicle.
“Despite mediation talks by the Principal Secretary for Gender (Marry Shawa), personal attacks emerged to the point that the DC changed the leadership of the sector (social welfare) a thing which has not been accepted by Magomero up to now resulting in this commotion,” said our source who pleaded for anonymity.
Kaleso Monteiro confirmed the existence of the feud but was quick to point out that it was because Magomero said he does not recognize her as District Commissioner.
“I couldn’t work with someone who doesn’t recognize my existence that is why I had to find someone within the sector whom I could work with and reported the matter to the ministry. The ministry is somehow not helping us as they are taking long to make a decision. My powers are limited so I am just waiting for the PS to act on the issue so that we move forward,” she said.
In his defense, Magomero accused the DC on issues concerning his sector ranging from; failure to deliver services to non-provision of finances from Other Recurrent Transactions (ORT) funds that are meant for running of the office blaming the controlling officer for trusting people who were not on government pay roll.
“There is no way I can be expected to provide services when the office is not being funded. Whenever I write requests, they are torn to pieces so I just sat down,” Magomero said.
The fight has affected both the social welfare office and other sectors that work together with the office on other programs including Non-Governmental Organizations.
On issues of service delivery, Monteiro said she had communicated the change in the leadership of the sector and expected them to respect the decision.
However, some NGOs confided in MANA that they were not happy with the change arrangement and now prefer bypassing the government office in implementing their programs until the matter is resolved in order not to be caught in the crossfire.
Magistrate for Neno, Daniel Dzowela could not hide his frustration when contacted as he said his office has equally been affected and hoped the issue could come to an end soon.
“My office has been affected in terms of Child Care Protection and Justice. Where I need a designated officer to be the probation officer or be a state witness to particular cases and I don’t have that that person then that is a problem,” the magistrate said.
Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Principal Secretary, Dr. Mary Shaba who is currently outside the country said the matter was being looked into and will be resolved shortly.
“According to personnel procedures one cannot make a decision without exploring all the avenues. We have done so and a decision has been taken on our part you will hear about it shortly,” said the PS.
In Neno, Magomero is the only Technical Officer in the Social Welfare Office with 5 child protection workers. The office relies on volunteers and interns for service delivery.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :