By Samuel Phiri
Kasungu Civil Society Network Organization (KUCSNET) has proved that Kasungu Municipal Council authorized use of funds meant for fight against the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) to pay salary arrears for its direct staff.
During a full council meeting the council made a resolution to use K13 million meant for COVID-19 fight to pay its striking staff that had gone for three months without pay.
In an interview with Malawi News Agency (MANA), KUCSNET Chairperson, Gentry Kamanga said the network understands that the pandemic has affected the economy in particular the municipal council, but COVID-19 activities should not stop.
“We will not allow the funds meant for COVID-19 to be used for other purposes because that will put people’s lives at risk. This should be the first and last time for the council to divert funds meant for disaster,” he said.
Meanwhile the CSOs have allowed the municipal council to use only K7 million and refund within 45 days.
“As civil organizations in Kasungu, we will not accept and tolerate the council on such behaviors.
Number of cases is still increasing. However, we have advised the council to use K7million not K13million as it was planned but should be paid back by 31st of August, 2020,” he said.
The municipal council has agreed to the terms and conditions that the CSO has given saying that it will sort out everything within the agreed period of time.
Kasungu Municipality Mayor, Socrates Jere, said the council did not collect enough revenue and failed to pay workers for three months due to the political tension the country was passing through.
“We thought of using the COVID-19 funds to stop them from going on a strike bearing in mind that as things gets stabilized, we will manage to operate normally as we always do, ” said Jere.
He further called upon all people to cooperate in paying ground rates and all necessary fees because that will enable the council to run its activities smoothly.
“We expecting to collect over K80 million from property rates and license renewing and we have already started the exercise.
Therefore, a message to the public is that by August we will start shutting down businesses and other operations to anyone who don’t comply to our call,” Jere explained.
Civil Society Network Organization fights for transparency and accountability in making sure that people’s lives is well taken care of.