DOWA (Frank Kamchacha, Mana) — Members of Parliament (MPs) and Ward Councilors in Dowa on Thursday failed to reach an agreement on how they should use MK208 million development budget approved and allocated to the district council by the National Assembly in Lilongwe.
The funds were mostly provided to implement water projects under priority of the priority projects. But the council’s development committee proposed that the funds be used on other development projects because water projects had already been allocated MK1.7 billion by nongovernmental organizations in the district.
The development committee suggested that the money be used for renovation of Boma Rest house, construction of two council staff houses and the brick wall fence at the Dowa Community Centre ground to boost revenue collections.
This proposal did not go well with the MPs who accused the development committee for sidelining the lawmakers in making some decisions saying the two parties are partners in development, hence the need to work together.
The MPs said the development committee is mandated to report recommendations to the full council meetings for final resolution and not it making decisions on behalf of the council.
The Minister of Health who is Dowa Central parliamentarian, Dr. Jean Kalilani, said water is a priority to all in the district and proposed at least 10 boreholes to be drilled per constituency in the district with the remaining money to be invested in capital development.
Kalilani’s proposal was echoed by all the MPs while the councilors and other council members like special interest group representative, were of the different view.
The council’s special interest group representative for the youth, Benson Manda accused the MPs in the district for politicizing the MK208 million development budget.
Manda said the MPs were prioritizing on water issues simple to advance their political ambitions alleging they have no interest in the boma community centre ground brick wall construction despite Concern Universal and other partners promising to drill boreholes in all constituencies valued at MK1.7 billion.
He said the youth should be part of the district development agenda, saying if the brick wall fence was completed it would keep the youth busy thereby reducing crime and generation of more revenue collection to pay salaries for council staff.
Dowa South East parliamentarian, Harry Njoka Chipeni, said MPs stand for the people saying water is a major concern to all in the district regardless of political party affiliations.
Dowa District Commissioner, Fannie Msimuko, Council Chair, Councilor Martin Luka Phiri and the council’s Director of planning and development, Emmanuel Bulukutu, expressed their concerns over the council members’ failure to deliberate on priority projects in the spirit of tolerance.
Meanwhile, the council development committee met in preparation for an extra-ordinary council meeting to be held on Monday so that the submission of projects be made to Capital Hill by close of business on the same day.