Government says it will not transfer two Zomba District Council officers as per the council’s members of Parliament and councillors’ 30-day ultimatum.
The two officers are accused of negligence in adhering to guidelines of the Governance to Enable Service Delivery (Gesd), a situation that allegedly resulted in the council’s failure to receive K1 billion from Gesd this year.
But addressing a full council meeting on Wednesday, Minister of Local Government, Unity and Culture Richard Chimwendo-Banda said transferring the two would not be the best solution.
“The best thing to do is that everyone at the council should take responsibility of the mess and from there, they should sit down and map the way forward on the best approach to take so that they bounce back into the list of beneficiaries,” said the minister while stressing that finger-pointing won’t solve the problem at hand.
“This is a grant and not a loan, now some councils are conducting themselves in a way that is making them lose the funding. This is painful on the part of government which is struggling to finance the councils. We need to up the game and ensure that we follow all the guidelines set by the funder,” he said.
Zomba-Changalume legislator Bizwick Million said much as they are not impressed with the government’s decision, they will oblige and give the two officers the benefit of the doubt.
He said losing K1 billion grant due to individual officers’ negligence, is an insult to communities who were the primary beneficiaries of the funding.
But he agreed with the minister that it does not sit well for Zomba District Council to scramble for the little in the government purse when Gesd has a grant for the same council to fund some of its developmental works.
Machinga and Chiradzulu district councils also missed the funding for similar reasons while Mulanje District Council was the best performing council under Gesd grants.
Gesd is a five-year $100 million World Bank-funded project which is facilitated by the National Local Government Finance Committee in the country. The project, which rolled out in July 2020, is expected to phase out in 2025.