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‘Councillors clueless on roles’

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A follow up exercise on how local leaders are performing in Chiradzulu, since they were elected into office in 2014, has revealed that some councillors are unaware of their responsibilities.

The exercise, which is being conducted by Centre for Alternatives for Victimised Women and Children (Cavwoc) in conjunction with the National Democratic Institute (NDI) has been done in six wards in the district.

According to Programmes Manager for Cavwoc, Maxwell Kaliati, there is confusion particularly on the issue of project implementation among stakeholders.

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“There is the issue of interference on the guidelines in terms of who is supposed to do what amongst the councillors, the MPs and the district council. There is a general consensus that a number of activities being performed by the council are supposed to be performed by the MPs and councillors,” said Kaliati

Kaliati also noted that communities are not aware of how projects are implemented in their areas and how much of the funds are being spent towards a particular project. He further added that some projects are poorly done because contractors are not chosen professionally but rather politically.

Councillor for Chikowa ward, South of Chiradzulu, Alick Naphiyo admitted that he barely understands his roles. He blamed the confusion on policies.

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“The laws are not clear because there are contradictions. When you want to access the Community Development Fund without the endorsement of the Member of Parliament (MP), for example, it becomes difficult,” said Naphiyo.

Asked on what policies concerning the use of funds direct, Felix Kipandula, an official from Chiradzulu District Council, said the laws on the functions of the leaders are clear. He concurred with Kaliati that the problem is that councillors do not understand their roles.

“What I have observed is that most of the councillors do not differentiate their roles and those of the MPs. They do not know what is supposed to be done by them, the council and the mps. That is the main challenge we have,” said Kipandula.

One of the community members in Chikowa, Loveness Julayi, said they too cannot clearly tell who is responsible for what, as in some dramatic circumstances both MPs and councillors claim responsibility for a single project.

“We cannot identify what projects are being done by who at the moment. Sometimes you find that when a councillor organises a development meeting, to update us that there a certain amount of CDF money to be used, he receives communication stopping him from using the money, said Julayi

The misunderstandings could be costly during campaign periods, when the leaders will be required to identify and pinpoint specific development projects they have brought to their respective areas. In the course of such events, some leaders may end up claiming ownership of a particular project which might bring tension and confusion.

The assessment campaign by Cavwoc has been dubbed Social Accountability Project. Some circles have commended the organisation for coming up with the initiative, saying it will help in sealing some loopholes in the management of government resources.

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