Members of Parliament in Karonga have been ridiculed for non-compliance when it comes to participating in meetings organized by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development aimed at consolidating their roles and those of ward councillors.
Nyasa Times understands that the MPs most of the times send their representative to the meetings, a phenomenon that members of the Karonga district council have described as “insubordination.”
The failure of the MPs to attend the meetings – Nyasa Times also understands – is because most of them are not resident in the district. Of the five MPs, we learnt, only Karonga North West JB Kamwambi is permanently based in Karonga.
Last Thursday representatives of the MPs were chased out of a three-day capacity building workshop organized by the Ministry held at Sumuka Inn.
Lawrence Makonokaya, the ministry’s Director of Chiefs, expressed disappointment on the MPs’ behavior for sending their subjects to the important meeting arguing “the act is an insult to the organizers” since they were taking the ministry as “foolish for organizing the workshops.”
According to Makonokaya, there are many gaps that need to be addressed on the roles that MPs, councilors and the council secretariat are supposed to play at the council to avoid conflicts.
He said there were many conflicts that ensue at district councils due to misunderstandings on who is supposed to do what especially on monetary issues such as Constituency Development Fund (CDF) and Local Development Fund (LDF).
“It is very sad that this workshop was organized to solve some of the issues that have been causing havoc at this council and yet the MPs have considered it useless by deliberately choosing not to come,” said Makonokaya.
He added: “That is why we don’t need their subjects here because an MP cannot delegate his or her subject to an important meeting like this one. It is like them delegating people for parliamentary deliberations.”
Makonokaya said the law “does not allow delegations in cases of where a full council meeting is being held.”
Chairperson of Karonga District Council Patrick Kishombe said the MPs’ behaviour was a habit.
“It is a very big problem. MPs send their representatives to these important meeting when normally they are supposed to do so themselves,” said Kishombe.
He said they had hoped that the Thursday meeting would be a pacesetter on improving matters.
“But their failure to come to the meeting proved that our MPs don’t need to cooperate, a development which is worrisome,” he said.
Karonga District Commissioner Rosemary Moyo, however, told the participants that she would “make sure that the MPs also follow the guidebook to avoid the conflicts.”
But speaking in an interview on Saturday, Karonga Central MP Frank Mwenifumbo, said he had only heard of the meeting as a rumour.
He blamed communication challenges on part of the Karonga District Assembly for not letting them know of the meeting in good time.
“I only heard of the meeting three days prior, and in form of hearsay that there would be such a meeting,” said Mwenifumbo.
The independent MP also expressed discomfort with the Ministry timing of the meetings.
“How can you organize such an important meeting at a time when people are planning for the festive season? It is time when people sit back and spend time with their families,” he said.
The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development is carrying out phase two capacity building exercises in eight districts in the country with the aim of bridging the gap in operation procedures in district councils with funding from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :