About 40 members of Nkhata Bay District Executive Committee (DEC) boycotted a meeting convened by Catholic Commission for Peace and Justice (CCJP) to unveil findings of an inquiry into how the district council is using public funds.
The shunned budget tracking initiative, funded by Tilitonse, aims to strengthen citizen participation for transparency and accountability in utilisation of development funds.
But the meeting on Friday started late because only two DEC members had arrived on time in the council’s chamber. Seven walked in late.
District council chairperson Beauty Banda kept going out of the chamber to verify their whereabouts.
CCJP diocesan secretary Arnold Msimuko said the council had assured them that 45 members would be in attendance.
“This conduct does not portray a good picture of the council. Why were these officials scared of the report?” he asked.
According to the findings, many communities in Nkhata Bay are not satisfied with the quality of the projects and the way the council runs them.
They decried lack of accountability and community participation, arguing that millions spent on substandard work would have been put to good use if the council had involved them in monitoring the projects.
“The council will lose nothing by engaging the community. It stands to benefit, for it is not easy for the council to monitor faraway projects,” said Msimuko
Banda bemoaned that absenteeism was getting out of hand as the committee is well-known for starting meetings late.
She urged members to seize such meetings as an opportunity for sharing vital insights on development instead of viewing them as forums for personal fights. n