Katete councillors turn down orientation workshop

 

Eighteen councillors in Katete district have refused to participate in the orientation workshop which demanded food and accommodation fees to be deducted from their sitting allowances.

In an interview on Thursday, Katete council finance committee chairperson Benard Mvula confirmed the development and said the councillors were angry that they should be asked to pay for food and accommodation at a workshop sponsored by the council.

Mr Mvula wondered why Katete councillors should be asked to pay when councillors in other districts were not affected by the rule.

“Yes, I can confirm that the orientation workshop for us here has failed. We realise that the orientation is very important as it tells and guides us on how we have to work.

‘‘We were ready for it but we were puzzled after being told that the district has decided that money to cater for our food and accommodation during the days we were supposed to be here was to be deducted from our allowances.

‘‘Now we wonder what the difference is between our friends in Sinda and ourselves because our friends did their workshop very well and were given all the money. But here, we are supposed to pay,” he said.

Mr Mvula, who is Kamphambe ward councillor, said he wondered why councillors who were said to be volunteers should pay for a workshop. He claimed that they were being abused.

He called on responsible offices to recognise the role that councillors played in the communities because there was no development that could take place without their involvement.

“Recently, there were statements that we are volunteers and so how come they want to rob a volunteer? They wanted us to pay half of our K700 allowance on food. But can an individual use half of it in a day just for food? On account of that, we thought we were not well considered and therefore, decided to refuse to attend the workshop,” he said.

And in a separate interview, headman Kalinde Adrian Banda of Katete has appealed to Government to increase councillors’ monthly allowance as a way of motivating them but complained that some councillors were lazy and did not help to take development to their areas.

The traditional leader said although civic leaders deserved to have their emoluments improved, not all councillors were hard working as some were not known even by their communities.

“It is important that Government can increase the money it gives councillors but it’s so saddening that some councillors are so weak that their role is not known in our communities.

‘‘They need to work hard so that the problems that people face are reported and responded to but you will find that the community doesn’t know them and that forces us, traditional leaders, to act on their behalf,’’ he said.

Headman Banda said lack of coordination and team work between Members of Parliament and ward councillors would lead to poor area representation and poor development.

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