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MP Ndomondo halts Public Works Programme

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People of Machinga South East Constituency have accused their Member of Parliament, Reverend Wilson Ndomondo, of suspending a Public Works Programme in his area, thereby contravening a resolution of the full council meeting for Machinga.

The move is also said to be denying people of his area, who have been hard-hit by hunger, an opportunity to earn money for buying maize.

Group Village Head (GVH) Maniya of Traditional Authority (T/A) Chikweo said the feud between the MP and ward councillors of the area because of differences in party affiliation is costing people of Machinga South East development and the opportunity to avert hunger through participation in the Public Works Programme.

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“My area has been hard-hit by hunger as a combination of flooding of Lake Chilwa and erratic rains wiped out crops and right now a kilogramme of maize is selling at K300 and what the MP has done is like allowing over 300 households to perish with hunger as they have been denied a means to earn money to buy maize,” GVH Maniya said.

Speaking on Tuesday last week when NGO Gender Coordination Network (NGOGCN) held an interface on democracy and governance in Liwonde, GVH Maniya said the MP did not consult anybody in making the order which confirms his earlier resolve never to work with councillors of the area.

Concurring with the GVH, Machinga Director of Planning and Development, Michael Chimbalanga, said the council has been informally told that some works on roads under Public Works Programme in Chikweo Ward have been suspended by the MP.

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“Policies and resolutions of full council are binding and nobody can unilaterally stop them after passing through the Development Committee as processes of project identification, beneficiary identification and environmental screening are costly,” Chimbalanga said.

He said the three processes cost the council over K9 million and it was unfair to government to discard the whole process and start again, saying even for the full council to meet, it needs more than K1 million.

However, Ndomondo hit back at the council and councillors for the mess in the Public Works Programme in his area.

Speaking in a telephone interview, Ndomondo said there were gross anomalies in the way council officials and councillors identified beneficiaries as over 20 of those appearing on the beneficiaries list are council officials’ relations.

“I cannot tolerate that nonsense where undeserving people should benefit yet people in my area are so poor and without an income to earn money to buy maize. These are the same people who petitioned Parliament not to swear me in, marched against me and that made me vow never to work with them again,” Ndomondo said.

Councillor for Chikweo Ward, Neverson Sawasawa, who is also Chairperson for Machinga District Public Works Committee, said he had indeed received reports that the MP went to the District Commissioner’s office to stop the programme.

“I do not know why the MP did that but as Chairperson of the Public Works Programme, I cannot allow people to suffer from hunger because of one person as people are expecting to receive K7,200 after 12 days of rehabilitating roads to buy maize,” Sawasawa said.

He also said hunger was severe in the area and suspending the programme would result in the suffering of so many people.

Machinga has been allocated K246 million for the Public Works Programme in which people will do such works as road construction, aquaculture, irrigation, soil conservation, and afforestation, among others.

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