Councilors in Chitipa District have tasked secretariat officials to immediately account for K13 million meant for the production of the District Development Plan (DDP) document.
The demand was made Monday during a full council meeting held at St. Kizito Conference Centre, at Chitipa Boma
The officials have since been given a 21 day ultimatum to produce the crucial document, warning that absence of compliance will draw their wrath.
The DDP document is a catalogue of development plans for each district, pending to be implemented, in form of projects which tend to address communities pressing needs, when funds are available.
Last year, council officials, led by the then Acting Director of Planning and Development, (DPD), Alick Ngozo, pleaded with the councilors to approve the proposed budget despite members’ arguments that the resources were too much just for the production of the document.
The proposed budget saw the light of the day when it had the blessings of Member of Parliament for Chitipa Wenya, Godfrey Mudulasi Mnkhondia, former Director of Finance (DOF) for the district.
“The document to be produced is very important because it determines the type of development projects the district intends to implement to improve the welfare of the people,” Mnkhondia said in his contribution, which drew round of applause from officials, a development that surprised unsatisfied ward representatives.
But up to now, the document is nowhere to be seen and District Commissioner, Grace Chirwa and her team have never bothered themselves to explain to councilors at what step the document is, which has angered Council Chair person, Isaac Mwepa and his colleagues.
he said, “We passed the budget in good faith, after Hon. Mnkhondia, who is knowledgeable in issues of finance, had supported the proposal. But now we feel betrayed since we can not see the document despite the fact that all the funds have been spent.”
Meanwhile, Mwepa has warned that he will report the matter to the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development for an action if the DC and her team fail to produce the document by May 18, 2017.
But in a separate interview, the new DPD for Chitipa, Tamanya Harawa has asked for patience from the councilors, arguing that ultimatums do not bring solutions to problems, besides souring relations.
“My humble appeal to our councilors is that they must be patient enough. It will not help matters to give us fixed date to produce the DDP. Everyone knows I have just come and I am already working on the document,” he asked.
Harawa, one of veteran DPDs, said he had no intentions to point fingers at other officials who shoulder the blame for failure to produce the document.
DDP task force members were only actively involved during formation of a sketchy district socioeconomic profile, a document which provides insights for the documentation of the DDP and during preparations for village action plans (VAPs) compilation.
The DDP issues comes hot on the heels of concerns from councilors to the extent that at times secretariat officials short-change them by implementing plans contrary to what have been agreed during full council meeting.
Chitipa District has been operating without the DDP from 2009, when the last one expired, a situation that has left many people wondering how the district implements projects without the input and blessings from community members as target beneficiaries, to ensure project ownership and sustainability.
The district has been running without a DPD, who heads planning department, which is key in implementation of development projects.
The district has been unfortunate as at one time, Director of Administration (DOA),DPD, DOF, Director of Public Works Programme (DPWP) and the DC were holding these crucial positions purely on acting capacity basis, which, to a larger extent, attributed to the border district’s mediocre performance which has been pegging it at the bottom of districts performance list in the country.
Harawa has observed that the council has been failing to successfully deliver in its programmes due to lack of active involvement of officers from other sectors who have excellent skills in specified fields.
He challenges, “I will involve everyone in implementation of projects. I will not look at faces when assigning roles but one’s capacity to perform for positive results.”
It has been noted with concern that officials from the secretariat engage certain individuals all the times during highly paying supervision trips to Local Development Fund (LDF), Productive Public Works Projects (PPWP), with some merely taking the trips as a poverty reduction adventures as they have nothing to record at project sites.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :