The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) of Karonga Diocese has said Karonga District has a long way to go in tracking public development funds because councilors are failing to make technocrats accountable since councilors are eaten up by the secretariat.
Louis Nkhata, Desk Officer for CCJP said this when briefing the District Executive Committee (DEC) on the new project called Citizen Action for Local Accountability (CALGA) that CCJP will implement in Chitipa and Karonga Districts.
CALGA is a 32 month project that has come in after CCJP observed ineffective system to follow up locally generated funds, dwindling of locally generated funds, abusing local development resources and politicizing development resources particularly Constituency Development Fund(CDF).
Nkhata, in his remarks, said councilors nowadays are failing to check how the secretariat is managing public resources meant for developments in the district hence eaten-up by secretariat.
“Councilors are supposed to form the upper part of the council and check the secretariat on management of public resources that are meant to help people in the district but this is not happening because
councilors are eaten up by secretariat,” Nkhata said.
“Councilors are marching with secretariat whish making them fail to check and provide the oversight role whenever it comes to issue of transparency and accountability,” he added.
Nkhata also has said politicians are full of politicizing developments which are intended for the benefit of people in the community such as Local Development Fund (LDF), Constituency Development Fund (CDF),
Local Generating Fund (LGF) and District Development Fund (DDF).
“Politicizing developments must end. We need to teach people at the grass root level so that they should know what to be done by providing them with guidelines on LDF, CDF, DDF and LGF,” Nkhata said.
Welcoming the project on behalf of the District Commissioner Robert Phiri who was the chair of the meeting and is also the Director of Public Works at the council who looked emotionally during questions time said Councilors have not eaten anything but they have leant a lot on how public funds are being managed which is not case before.
He also asked CCJP to ask expertise from the technocrats when implementing the project as those in the community may not have good information on how the public funds are used relating to the projects that go to the community.
MK74 million will be used to implement this project.
Communities will choose community journalists who will be trained on how to collect information, investigate issues, disseminate information and publish reports on how public funds are used by using Public Expenditure Tracking System (PETS).