Lilongwe City Councillors said they smiled back home after getting better “brown envelopes” with cash handouts from President Lazarus Chakwera than compared with their Blantyre counterparts when they had an interface meeting with the head of state at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe.
Chakweara’s meeting with 27 councilllors was the third presidential meeting with councils, after similar one in Blantyre and Mzuzu.
In Blantyre, councillors after meeting Chakwera at Sanjika Palace recorded a video which went viral on social media complaining that they received K20 000 cash each from the President which they regarded as too little.
But the story was different from Lilongwe, as councillors were squealing with excitement after the meeting, saying they got “better than Blantyre and Mzuzu” counterparts.
“We are from the capital and we have been looked after very well,” said one councillor with a badge of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) on his jacket’s lapel.
Another councillor said the cash token received from Chakwera was far much better than what Blantyre councillors received.
Without disclosing the amount, the councillors said:“ it’s an early Christmas.”
During the meeting at Kamuzu Palace, attended by Lilongwe City Mayor Juliana Kaduya, chief executive officer John Chome, the Lilongwe City councillors asked the President to give them an opportunity to import one duty-free car to ease their mobility in their respective wards.
The council officials lamented that property owners owe it K11 billion in city rates, a development which is affecting their operations.
On his part, President Chakwera challenged the council officials to work harder towards transforming Lilongwe into a modern capital city worth its name.
He warned against a “business-as-usual” approach if the capital city is to have the desired outlook.
“We must reverse some of the ways of doing things. Without integrity, without standards and without the unity of purpose that we need, these plans shall be mere dreams,” said Chakwera.
The council, according to its CEO Chome, intends to implement reforms being championed by vice-president Saulos Chilima, and that it has developed a strategic plan for transforming Lilongwe into a modern city.
“We are committed to implement reforms. Let me say something on key financing areas, 90 percent of revenue is self-generated, but the issue is that K11 billion is owed to the council as in city rates,” said Chome.
He said the council needs a number of projects such as a recreational services to restore its lost glory.
Among other things, the Lilongwe City Council strategic plan outlines construction of recreation centres that will generate income and also introduction of a rapid public transportation system to meet travel needs of people within the city.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :