Political functionaries politicising membership in development committees do so out of ignorance or deliberately for sinister political reasons because members are supposed to be elected without political considerations, government says.
In Phalombe, members of the ruling Peopleâ€™s Party (PP) and the former ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) physically fought when the PP allegedly demanded dominance into the Rural Growth Centre (RGC) committees.
In Mulanje, the district commissioner (DC) reportedly suspended the public works programme after the PP demanded to dominate representation in the membership of village development committees (VDCs) and area development committees (ADCs).
But Phalombe DC Atanazio Chibwana said in an interview on Monday election into the RGC committees is not based on political affiliation, but is open to local people in the areas concerned.
The DC said the African Development Bank (AfDB), which is financing the development of the RGC through the Local Development Fund (LDF), may not be amused by the politicisation of the project.
But Daniel Noel, DPP constituency governor for Phalombe North where the DPP and PP members fought, claimed in an interview on Monday that all DPP members have been excluded from the Chitekesa RGC committee.
However, Local Government and Rural Development Minister Grace Maseko said in an interview last week that the programme has been suspended nationwide to sort out operational issues.
Maseko, in reference to the Mulanje case, said the PP has no mandate to give directives to the DC on who should be in the committee. She said members are selected into the committees without political considerations.
Phalombe Police Station spokesperson Augustine Nkhwazi last week confirmed the arrest of two people in connection with the fight. They have been charged with an offence of fighting in public.