A tag-of-war has ensued between Chilomoni Ward Councilor and Member of Parliament (MP) for Blantyre City West, Thom Gowelo over the use of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).
In an interview Chilomoni Ward Councilor, Phillip Litchowa Kametah said there is lack of transparency as to how the fund is being run by their MP with people being left in the dark.
“Since I entered office as Chilomoni Ward Councilor, I have not taken any part in the operations of the CDF. Even the Area Development Committee (ADC) or the Village Development Committee is not taking part in the CDF operations; a development which simply shows that in our area, the fund is used in a wrong way,” said Kametah.
Kametah added that the MP is using the funds clandestinely because even the Group Village Heads in the area are not aware of how the money is used.
“Even the City Council does not know clearly how the fund should be used which shows that all the powers towards the use of this money is in the hands of the MP. In other words, the fund is being taken as pocket money for MPs who do not wish their constituencies to develop,” highlighted Kametah.
According to Kametah, the money is supposed to be shared amongst councilors of the constituency for them to develop their areas but the MP is using the money alone.
“Sometimes we see that the money has come to the City Council but we do not see how it is used. It’s my plea even to the government to have proper procedures on how these funds are used and even for the people in our constituency to follow how this money is used, not just leaving it to the councilor and the MP which sometimes creates conflict between the two and at the end the community suffers,” said Kametah.
Responding to the accusations, the Blantyre City West MP, Thom Gowelo said there is a lot of development that has been done using the CDF in his entire constituency and not only Chilomoni Ward.
“There are a number of wards in my constituency that I have developed including the Chilomoni Ward, so I do not know what the people are complaining about. There is Sigelege Primary and Jordan Junior Primary Schools; the few blocks that are there I was the one who built them,” said Gowelo.
Gowelo added that Chilomoni Ward should not complain for it is not the only ward in his constituency, but there are other wards that need development and the CDF has been used in developing other wards like Manyowe and Nantcholi as well.
“Four projects in the 2016/2017 financial year were approved and the contracts were signed; come June 30 they will be accomplished. These are Nancholi Primary School, the construction of Mkoka Bridge, Mudi Bridge and Milo Primary School,” highlighted Gowelo.
Answering on the involvement of local structures, the MP said he called them and asked them what they want in their wards and they presented the projects which will be accomplished in June.
“The money is not that huge, it’s K18 million and the councilor is supposed to work with the ADC in coming up with projects that are needed most in their areas,” elaborated Gowelo.
However, speaking to the ADC Chairperson for Chilomoni Ward, Maxwell Chagoma said the MP did not meet them to break down the CDF as it was supposed to be.
“As Chilomoni Ward, we just hear that there is CDF but we are not aware how it is being used. We just hear that there are such allocations but we do not see what that money is doing here in our wards,” said Chagoma
Chagoma said they already have draft projects to be presented to the MP but he does not come to hear their needs as people of his constituency.
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