Youth and Society (YAS), together with 16 other Northern Region-based civil society organisations (CSOs), has summoned Minister of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development Grace Chiumia to a meeting over the stalled Mzuzu Youth Centre (MYC) project.
The request, dated February 14 2019 and signed by YAS executive director Charles Kajoloweka, follows concerns on the lack of progress and alleged abuse of funds meant for the project.
The meeting is planned for February 28 2019 in Mzuzu.
The other CSOs include Church and Society Programme (CSP), Coalition of Women and Girls Living with HIV and Aids (Cowglha), Judith Foundation, Centre for Young Leaders in Africa (CYLA), Muslims Aids Support Organisation (Maso) and Young Politicians Union (YPU).
In the letter, the CSOs observe that the project has witnessed two ground breaking ceremonies, one of which was presided over by Chiumia, and that allegedly over K300 million has been spent with nothing to show on the ground.
It reads in part: “As you are aware, in our letter dated February 5 2019 addressed to the Principal Secretary (PS) and copied to your office, we had asked your ministry to account for over K30 million which was allegedly drawn by officials from your ministry in form of allowances for the meetings which never took place.
“To this date, we have not received any feedback from the ministry. This meeting is, therefore, convened to engage your office on the state of the project and accountability of the money spent on the project.”
But Chiumia said in an interview yesterday she had not seen the letter, having just returned from abroad on Wednesday afternoon.
Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe said at a political rally in Mzuzu last week that China will still fund the project.
This came weeks after Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development PS Joseph Mwandidya had said Beijing would no longer fund the project, but government would fully fund it.
The project was launched by Bingu wa Mutharika in 2008 ahead of the 2009 General Elections campaign.
Capital Hill has since the 2010/11 fiscal year allocated and spent over K300 million on the project, but with nothing to show for it. For a decade, over K500 million has been allocated to the project. n