MPs and councillors bickering affecting development in Phalombe  

Internal bickering between Members of Parliament and Councilors in Phalombe District is said to be negatively affecting development in some parts of the district, community members have claimed.

One of the MPs in Phalombe: Anna Kachikho

The concern comes at a time some stakeholders such as the District Council secretariat and Civil Society Organizations in the district have already raised similar worries.

Chairperson for Mkhumba Area Development Committee (ADC), Reck Minjolo said one of the most obvious reasons for the untimely internal politicking is the difference in political background of the MP and Councilors for his area.

“The Member of Parliament won on an independent ticket while the councilors were ushered in under Democratic Progressive Party [ticket]; as a result, they do not want to work together as people that were voted together. There is too much internal politicking among them,” explained Minjolo, noting that in the end it was the voter suffering.

“Sometimes the ADC selects priority projects and send them to the District Council for consideration, but when the MP and the two councilors meet they begin to disagree on the same because they have different individual priorities and in many cases they end up bringing to our area projects that were not community priorities,” he added.

Economic Governance Programmes Manager for Centre for Social Concern, Lucky Mfungwe said failure to collaborate between MPs and Councilors shoots down the whole purpose of setting up local governance structures.

Mfungwe said the ideal working relationship would be one in which Members of Parliament and Councilors work as brothers and or sisters while delivering developmental promises that they made to their electorate before they were voted into leadership.

“The MPs and councilors need to complement each other and not compete with each other if people of their areas are to benefit from their being in power, otherwise voters may go on and on changing faces in leadership positions only to continue watching the drama that emerges from their differences,” said Mfungwe.

During a consultative meeting that Centre for Social Concern held in Phalombe District Friday, it transpired that out of the five constituencies of the district, it was only Member of Parliament for Phalombe Central, Felton Mulli who seemed to have good working relationship with his two councilors.

This was evidenced by their ability to work together in the implementation of projects under Local Development Fund (LDF), District Development Fund (DDF) and Constituency Development Fund (CDF).

Commenting on the effect of MP-Councilor relations on development, Director of Planning and Development for Phalombe, Morson Magombo worried that development projects under the CDF were the most affected.

He said although MPs and councilors fully understand CDF guidelines, tension over the utilization of resources under this development window continues between the two sides.

“As a result it is community members that bear the consequences because the bickering results in substandard development projects,” said Magombo.

Centre for Social Concern is implementing good governance programmes through which it encourages contact and dialogue between leaders and community members on development issues, among other functions.

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