Barely two days after the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development expressed dissatisfaction with Mzuzu City Council (MCC) engineering department, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Trasizio Gowelo was on the council’s neck on Friday, accusing it of inefficiency.
Ministry of Finance has been reluctant to allocate large sums of money to the council to manage projects as a result of this inefficiency, a development that has seen the city suffering in terms of infrastructure and services.
Speaking in an interview on Friday, Gowelo said there is need for competent people to manage projects at the council and serve the city better. He warned that there will be a thorough assessment of council staff and those that do not meet requirements will be relocated and others laid off.
He said some people rose up the ranks due to long service, but lack the expertise to manage developments. He cited the seven years it took MCC to complete the Mzuzu Flea market project, which could have been complete in seven months, as a clear sign of inefficiency.
Recently, there have been reports of conflicts between councillors and secretariat over mismanagement. Councillors have accused secretariat of mismanagement and laxity in taking bold decisions over people implicated in malpractices.
However, Gowelo, noted that the council was understaffed and did not have a chief executive officer (CEO). He said vacant positions will have to be filled by competent people to assist the CEO in running the council.
Press Trust trustee Peter Mwanza, former member of Parliament (MP) for Mzuzu City, also expressed disappointment over the manner the flea market project funded by Press Trust was handled.
Mzuzu City deputy mayor Frazer Chunga blamed the blunt workforce at the council on limited personnel.
He said a number of key positions need to be filled if the council is to deliver. However, he, blamed the council for failing to fund recruitment of such officials.
Said Chunga: “We have been unable to raise money towards recruitment of the officials. The Ministry conducts interviews, but as council we are supposed to source money for the interviews.”