NDOLA mayor Amon Chisenga has come out in support of councillors’ demands for salary, warning that resisting to listen to the civic leaders’ appeals is a catalyst for promoting vices such as corruption and illegal land allocation.
Mr Chisenga has criticized people condemning calls by councillors to have their K700 monthly allowance revised and upgraded to a salary.
Mr. Chisenga said in an interview that the K700 monthly allowance was a mockery and it was only fair that the civic leaders should be considered for a salary.
He explained that placing councillors on a salary could put an end to land illegalities which he claimed previous councillors were often involved in.
Mr Chisenga said due to the financial pressure the councillors were exposed to in their communities, the civic leaders were easily tempted to engage in illegalities.
He stated that most of the development work in constituencies was performed by councillors and not the Members of Parliament.
“The councillors face a lot of challenges and in most cases they are the people that cover funeral costs in their wards. Yes, we accept it is voluntary work but with demands that come from communities, the councillors often have to deep into their own pockets. It is not the Members of Parliament that cover the funeral costs in wards because they are most of the time in Lusaka.
‘‘That is why I am saying let the issue be considered by the Emoluments Commission and maybe in future we cannot record cases of them being mentioned in illegal land allocation because they also fall short financially,” Mr Chisenga said.
He said that councillors in the 28 wards in Ndola have also petitioned Government, stating that it was important that they teamed up with those that kick-started the campaign.
Mr Chisenga said with the current status quo, it was difficult to attract people of quality into civic leadership because of the meagre allowances they were receiving.
The mayor also wondered why there was disparity in emoluments between councillors and MPs who were entitled to hefty allowances apart from the gratuity they received at the end of each session.
He said salaries and gratuities would in the end help reduce levels of corruption among councillors who were always found to be involved in illegal dealings.