Angry Rumphi villagers to hold demo over unpaid public-works wages

Communities, who took part in the Malawi Social Action Fund (MASAF) 4 in road maintenance under Public Works Programme in February, 2017 in Rumphi, have protested over the council’s failure to pay their wages.

Ng’onga Villagers gathered at Rumphi District office

The beneficiaries from Ng’onga in the area of Sub Traditional Authority Chisovya in the district told Malawi News Agency (MANA) Friday at the council offices where they had converged since Wednesday, that they suspected foul play on the matter after returning from the offices with empty hands.

One of the concerned beneficiaries, Chiukepo Mtete, claimed that since the completion of road maintenance work in his area in February this year (2017), the council has been playing a hide-and-sick game over the payment of the wages to the beneficiaries.

“Since February, the ADC has been coming here to demand for the wages, only to be given a later date of receiving the wages. We are tired of waiting for the money and it seems the [district] council’s officials owe us an explanation on the matter,”he said.

Mtete claimed the council had promised them they would be paid in due course when all the existing anomalies have been resolved.

He warned that if their concerns will not be addressed within the agreed time, the beneficiaries would hold a mass demonstration next week Tuesday, demanding their wages from the district council.

“We have agreed that they will pay us on Tuesday and if that fails, we will not have other options but hold demonstrations because we have waited for so long,” Mtete explained.

Rumphi District Council Director of Publics Works, Allan Chitete, conceded that the concerns raised by the beneficiaries were valid but attributed the situation to some problems at grass root level to do with flawed procedures, hence the delayed payment of the wages.

“The people of Ng’onga ADC have not been following the guidelines although they were told what to follow. For instance, bringing correct names of beneficiaries and stating the type of project to be undertaken among others.

“This has made their payments to be delayed because we were resolving the anomalies that arose, but fortunate enough, the inconsistencies have now been cleared and they will be paid on Tuesday next week,” he pointed out

Rumphi District Council Chairperson who is also the ward councillor for the area Ng’onga Ward, Lillian Chirambo, said sometimes irregularities arise on such projects because of the absence of the Community Development Assistant (CDA) in her area.

She added that although there were problems in her area, beneficiaries would be paid their wages in due course because all the irregularities had been resolved.

There are 1,240 beneficiaries who are expected to receive their wages in the area. Mwazisi and Lura are other areas in the district where beneficiaries are yet to receive their wages.

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