The National Elections Systems Trust (Nest) has expressed disappointment over lack of transparency and accountability by some elected leaders and office bearers at local level in the country on how they handle public funds.
Nest has since called on the public to get involved in scrutinising public funds allocated to various development projects taking place in their areas.
In a Press Statement released Friday, Nest programs Coordinator Unandi Banda said it was disappointing to note that there is still tension in some areas between Members of Parliament and Ward Councillors especially regarding the running of Local Development Fund (LDF) and Constituency Development Fund (CDF).
Banda said the development has led to wastage of resources and incompletion of development projects. To uncover this, Nest with funding from UK-Aid through National Democratic Institute (NDI) embarked on a six month project in Neno called ‘Harmonisation of local development structures’ aimed at tracking public expenditure and ensuring that funds meant for development are managed accordingly.
Through the project it was discovered that many projects in the area had stalled due to lack of accountability, leadership and community participation. Change of elected leaders and office bearers also prompted the abandonment of some projects as the new leaders introduced their own plans and projects different from those of their predecessors.
Speaking during a media visit to some of the projects that had stalled in the district, which include construction of a police unit at Lisungi, and at Chifunga and teachers’ houses at Chimbamira Primary School, Nest Projects officer Odreck Kathamalo said the development has put the communities at a disadvantage for their hope for better social services continue to hang in the balance. Echoing Kathamalo’s sentiments, Senior Chief Symon expressed disbelief at how some projects have stalled after being budgeted for and funded consistently.
“It is so unbelievable, we have so many stalled projects here that were budgeted for and properly funded and we do not know what happened with the funds,” said the Senior Chief.
But commenting on the matter, Margret Nkhalamba, Area Development Committee Chairperson for Lisungwi ward said the committee was still discussing with District Council Officials, the MP and Councillor on the way forward.