National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice) has cited passive citizenry and limited involvement of communities in development projects as major challenges contributing to poor tracking down of funds allocated to the country’s district and city councils.
This came out over the weekend during a public debate jointly conducted by Nice and Blantyre Press Club (BPC) in Blantyre.
The panellists and other participants, who included journalists, chiefs, councillors and community members agreed that there was massive abuse of funds in councils and expressed the need for implementers to be transparent and accountable.
“We are failing to manage our politics that is why every development project is politicised. As long as we do not remove politics and come up with independent community-sanctioned projects, the funds will never benefit the local citizen,” said Nice regional civic education officer (South) Enock Chinkhuntha.
He said it is high time duty-bearers kept politics away from development projects.
“When duty-bearers are in conflict, it is the people who suffer. We need to redefine the systems in terms of clarifying various roles of development players to ensure they perform their due roles,” he said.
One of the panellists, Rodrick Mulonya, a seasoned media practitioner, said Malawians join politics by accident.
“They discuss issues and not issues. That is why we do not have people-centred development projects and in the end public funds are going down the drain,” he said.
The debate was held under the topic Whether the Funds Allocated to Councils Really Translate into Tangible Development.
It is a product of a memorandum of understanding that Nice signed with BPC, Bwaila Press Club of Lilongwe and Mzuzu’s Nyika Press Club last December. The objective is to have a society that is free to discuss national issues that affect the people.