COUNCILLORS from Southern Province have joined their Patriotic Front (PF) colleagues in demanding for a salary, insisting that it is constitutional.
In an interview yesterday, UPND Namwala Central councillor Jeff Sitali, who also spoke on behalf of other councillors in the province, said that they stood in solidarity with their PF colleagues on the demands for a salary as it was within the confines of the Constitution.
Mr Sitali wondered why a councillor should be paid a monthly allowance of K700 while mayors were paid K33,000 and Members of Parliament were entitled to a salary and various emoluments as well as privileges such as a weekend entertainment allowance of K10,000 when they had the same qualification and same five-year mandate.
“We as Southern Province councillors are in support of Patriotic Front councillors in Northern, Copperbelt and Lusaka as well as other areas who have stood up to demand for a salary as it is constitutional,” he said.
Mr Sitali insisted that councillors’ salaries were provided for in the Constitution and cited Article 264 (2) which states that “the emoluments of a State officer, councillor, Constitution office holder and judge shall be determined by the Emoluments Commission”.
He called on the Government to intervene in the matter, describing the situation as an injustice as councillors were always the first to handle people’s challenges before they could be brought to the attention of the State.
Mr Sitali said that as civic leaders their responsibilities demanded that they should be in their wards 24 hours a day to attend to the needs of the community.
There have been a heated debate by various stakeholders on whether councillors deserved a salary while others have maintained that civic leaders were part-timers and were only entitled to a monthly allowance of K700.
Local Government Association of Zambia (LGAZ) president Christopher Kang’ombe and former Information and Broadcasting minister Chishimba Kambwili have both supported the notion that councillors should be paid a salary.