Malawi Human Rights Resource Centre (MHRRC) has disclosed that ward councilors are still lacking necessary capacity and skill for addressing abuse of public resources in their respective councils.
MHRRC executive director Emma Kaliya has since warned that authorities will continue plundering public resources in councils unless ward councilors and traditional leaders are fully capacitated to track budget and public expenditure.
Kaliya observed that most chiefs and ward councilors do not have the skills and knowledge to analyze and track district budgets and how their councils spend their annual allocations.
She made the remarks at Mponela on Thursday when she closed to two-day orientation workshop for ward councilors and chiefs from Dowa and Ntchisi districts.
With financial support from Danish Church Aid (DCA), MHRRC is implementing Active Citizenship Project in Dowa and Ntchisi to enhance citizen voice and action in local governance and development projects.
Kaliya disclosed that orientation of ward councilors and chiefs on available windows of funding at district councils and their role in tracking implementation of the various development projects in their respective areas is one of the major activities under the project.
“During the orientation workshop, we have discovered that there is a lot that needs to be done to fully capacitate the councilors and chiefs on their role in budget and public expenditure tracking. The councilors do not seem to understand most processes and they also do not have knowledge about other documents they are supposed to access and study so that they discharge their duties well,” she said.
Kaliya added that the poor relationship between councilors and members of Parliament (MPs) continues to hinder progress in most areas.
Dowa District Council chairperson Martin Luka Phiri said the skills and knowledge they gained from the orientation workshop will enable them embrace a different approach when discharging their duties.
Phiri further disclosed that the training had enhanced their understanding of budgetary and developmental issues.
“I can promise that our ward residents will see change from us,” he said.
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