Paramount Chief Kyungu on Wednesday took to task government officials who escorted Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Augustine Mtendere on an inspection tour of K579 million projects in Karonga, accusing them of hiding substandard projects from inspectors.
Kyungu accused the officials, including Karonga district commissioner Emmanuel Bambe, of not consulting him on Local Development Fund (LDF) projects the deputy minister was supposed to inspect.
Said Kyungu in his speech: “In these projects, transparency must be emphasised because these are LDF projects from which local people must benefit. We should not have beautiful documents when on the ground the developments are not depicting what is on paper.
“I would have loved if I were consulted on where the minister would visit because some of the projects are substandard, yet a lot of money was spent on them,” he said.
In response, Bambe assured Kyungu that his office would do better next time. He also offered to include on the tour projects that Kyungu had referred to.
The projects fall under the Crisis Response Programme following floods and earthquake calamities that hit the district this year.
Under the programme, 77 school blocks, 37 teachers’ houses and 19 toilets were constructed whereas 42 structures were maintained.
Environmental safeguards were also implemented in 113 projects and at least 140 public works projects were completed. In addition, 15 500 people were paid their wages, among others.
In his remarks, Mtendere, who turned the government function into a political campaign by calling on people to vote for President Joyce Banda in the 2014 elections, said while many projects were completed, there was still a lot of work to be done.
“We need more teachers’ houses and school blocks. Our resources in LDF have been over-stretched. So, we need a lot of funds,” said Mtendere at one of the sites.
He added: “Next year, give President Joyce Banda votes. I am here on a government duty, but as a politician, I cannot help it but do some politicking. Support this government. I urge chiefs to support this administration.”