Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Kondwani Nankhumwa, on Wednesday said government does not owe any chief honoraria since 2015 and asked the district council in Chiradzulu to resolve the issue.
Chiradzulu District Council Chair Emmanuel Kamwendo took advantage of the minister’s visit to Chiradzulu, where he inspected government offices under construction with funding from the Local Development Fund, to register local leaders’ concerns about monthly honoraria.
“They asked me to speak on their behalf on this issue. It’s been months now without the chiefs getting their entitlement. May you find out for us what is happening,” said Kamwendo who did not indicate the amount each chief was owed.
Chiradzulu has three senior chiefs and three traditional authorities (T/A) who also get monthly pay.
Reacting to the concern, Nankhumwa said government does not owe any chief any honoraria since November.
He, however, indicated that his inquiry on the issue revealed that the problem is of the council’s own making alleging that it is falling to settle compensation claims associated with one of the council vehicles involved in an accident some years back.
“Government does not owe honoraria to any chief. We [ministry] send money for chiefs every month but I am told that the money is being swallowed by compensation claims associated with one of the council vehicles that at some point attracted a garnish order from the court,” he said.
Asked whether the construction of the new offices in Chiradzulu will not jeopardise plans to relocate government offices to a new site, Nankhumwa said government is waiting for a resolution from the authorities in the district.
He however admitted that disagreements on the new location among local leaders were delaying the process.
Nankhumwa said the K205 million office block under Local Development Fund would address the issue of office space which has been a challenge for the council for a long time.
He commended the contractor Nangaunozge Building Construction for expediting the construction work.
Nakhumwa asked the council to quickly review the structure’s completion deadline considering that the contractor started the work late.
The ministry is implementing Local Development Fund projects in Chiradzulu, Karonga, Kasungu and Mangochi among others with 11 million Euros funding from The Germany Development Bank.
According to Nankhumwa, the ministry also plans to erect similar government offices in Thyolo, Ntcheu and Nzimba districts.
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