Malawiâ€™s ruling Peopleâ€™s Party (PP) officials were last week seen using a government vehicle, registration number MG 617 X, in carrying out party work in Thyolo.
This is contrary to what the partyâ€™s administrative secretary the Reverend Peter Kaleso recently told Weekend Nation, that PPâ€™s principles do not allow it to use public resources for partisan functions.
But PP spokesperson Hophmally Makande on Monday said the Thyolo District Council is better placed to explain why its vehicle was found at the PP exercise. Makande argued the council is revamping its area development committees (ADCs); hence, the use of their own vehicle.
Thyolo district commissioner Lawford Palani was not available for comment, but a senior council official (name withheld) said the party was using the vehicle for its own activities. The official said it was not only at Kapichi where the party used the councilâ€™s vehicle.
â€œThere was nobody from our office at that meeting. There was only the driver. Unfortunately, the transport officer is not around to explain [this]. We did not authorise anybody to go around [with the vehicle],â€ said the official.
The official also said it is not true that the district council is revamping its ADCs.
However, PP officials were seen conducting a week-long campaign dissolving some ADCs in the district, using a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)-donated government vehicle.
The vehicle was seen on Friday by a group of journalists at Kapichi where the party was reconstituting the ADCs.
The journalists were on a media tour organised by the Pan-African Civic Educators Network (Pacenet) which is conducting a one-year project to strengthen the capacity of local governance structures. These include village development committees (VDCs), ADCs and transparency and accountability committees.
Thyolo PP district governor Andrew Chipote, together with other PP officials at Kapichi, were uncomfortable with the presence of reporters. But he confirmed the party is reconstituting the ADCs.
PP Thyolo Central Constituency governor Winston Miliasi also confirmed the development.
Pacenet executive director Steve Duwa expressed concern aboutÂ PPâ€™s conduct amid the reconstitution, which has met resistance on the ground. He said the network will find it difficult to work with the new development structures which, he argued, are now turning political.