People in Traditional Authority Kilupula’s area in Karonga have taken to task the district council for the delay to construct a shelter at Pusi Market.
The project stalled five years ago and has forced community leaders through Citizen Action in Local Government Accountability (Calga) project to stop the council from collecting market fees.
In an interview, village head Mponda said community members are collecting market fees to mobilise money for the project.
He justified the decision, alleging that the council was collecting market fees without thinking of the vendors’ welfare.
“It is true that we are collecting money ourselves. We want to complete the project for traders to operate in a safe place,” he said.
The area development committee chairperson George Mwafulirwa said the project was allocated K8 million in 2014.
“However, construction work stalled at window level. So, additional K2 million was allocated in 2019 to complete the project, but the money was not released,” he said.
The council’s spokesperson Isaac Mkandawire admitted that Pusi Market issue is outstanding.
“Looking at how important the market is, we budgeted for the shelter under this financial year’s district deveopment fund programme to the tune of K8.7 million,” he said.
Mkandawire said they received a fresh request from Pusi community to consider constructing a full market and not a single shelter.
“We are considering the request, but the shelter will be the starting point,” he said.
Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace of Karonga Diocese, with funding from Danish Church Aid, is implementing Calga project in the district to empower community members to demand transparency and accountability on development funded projects.