Realising financial difficulties Mzuzu City Council is facing, mayor William Mkandawire says he advised the council not to spend K15 million (US$33707.865168539330) on his official vehicle but on one for his deputy.
Mkandawire, speaking in an interview yesterday, said he observed that the council was already burdened with the loan it got from a commercial bank to buy vehicles for its departments.
Said the mayor: “I don’t want to put the council under pressure. I feel the money we collect [from city rates] should be used to buy the deputy mayor’s vehicle.
“I am comfortable using the vehicle I am using now, but the problem arises when the deputy mayor also needs to travel and there is no vehicle. I am forced to release my vehicle to take him to his destination.”
Mkandawire shares a pool vehicle with the council’s engineering department.
The issue of the mayor and his deputy using pool vehicles with the council’s departments raised concerns among councillors during a recent full council meeting.
During the meeting, it was learnt that the deputy mayor, Frazer Chunga, was the most affected as he sometimes walks or calls for the vehicle the mayor uses.
Chunga told the meeting he was facing mobility challenges and asked for something to be done about it.
However, the mayor’s proposal to buy his deputy’s vehicle first brought divisions among councillors. Those against the decision felt it would be inappropriate for the council to buy an official vehicle for the deputy mayor while the mayor has none.
Asked if the budgeted K15 million was available, Mkandawire said it was a proposal.
Mkandawire and Chunga have been in office for close to a year now.
Traditionally, city and municipal councils buy official vehicles for the mayor and his/her deputy.