THE demands by some Patriotic Front (PF) councillors to be salaried are not only ill-timed but also misplaced.
The position of councillors has always been elective just like that of the Member of Parliament.
Be that as it may, the duties and responsibilities of either office are not the same to warrant the same type of conditions of service.
It is not in dispute that both the Member of Parliament and the councillor work from the same constituency knowing that they are elected by the constituents.
It is equally true that councillors work closely with the people as opposed to the area Member of Parliament because they live among them in the wards.
Consequently, councillors together with the Member of Parliament lobby Government for development in their respective constituencies.
The work of a councillor however demanding, is deemed to be more or less voluntary in nature. One has to sacrifice one’s time and resources to offer service to the community in which they reside.
This, we assume, was well understood by councillors prior to putting themselves forward to be representatives of the people.
The spate of protests by councillors across the country over the meagre monthly allowances shows that they did not fathom what was expected of them.
Probably, they were not ready to offer service but looked forward to self-aggrandisement.
Why are the councillors demanding for a salary now? What has changed in their performance of duty? Has the law been repealed to make the position of councillor full time?
We can deduce that the councillors’ demands for a salary is a reflection of the misconception many of them had of what their role in the councils entailed.
Going by the heightened drive to rid the local authorities of the rampant corruption and illegal land allocations by Government, it justifies our assertion that many of them occupied the position for personal enrichment through such illicit activities.
We think that the low monthly allowances given to councillors is no justification for engaging in corrupt practices particularly illegal land allocation.
After all, allocation of land to prospective land owners has never been the mandate of the councillors.
Threats by councillors to resign from their positions if they are not put on monthly salary should not be condoned.
Let those who are not ready to offer services on part-time basis resign. Government should not be held to ransom by a clique of civic leaders whose interest is to service their selfish ambitions.
As things stand, the services of a councillor are performed on part-time basis and there has been no change in the law to make it full time service.
Therefore, the reasoning that the work of a councillor is more demanding, hence the need for them to be salaried does not hold water. Unless the law stipulating the terms and conditions surrounding their services is repealed, they are not entitled to a salary.
Schemes to scandalise the Local Government Minister and his permanent secretary show lack of honesty.
Instead, councillors are the ones who are misleading themselves on a point of law.
Even if the councillors were to demand for a monthly salary as opposed to a paltry allowance, there is need to follow the right procedure of initiating such reforms to their conditions of service by approaching the relevant structures in the Ministry of Local Government.