By Mary Makhiringa
Balaka, October 13, Mana: Balaka Civil Society Organization (CSO) Network have hailed Member of Parliament (MP) for Balaka Central East Constituency, Chifundo Makande, for good citizen engagement in project implementation.
Balaka CSO network through its Governance Committee recently conducted a monitoring exercise in which they were looking at how the council was utilizing the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) as well as the District Development Fund (DDF).
Speaking Wednesday during a stakeholders meeting in which Balaka CSO Network invited all Councilors, MPs, Area Development Committee (ADC) chairpersons, traditional leaders and all District Development Committee (DDC) members, Chair for Balaka CSO Network, John Bamusi, said the engagement meeting follows the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that the council signed with the CSOs.
He said: “We called for this meeting not to name and shame anybody, but to discuss development of our district in which all of us are serving.
“As you noted in the report, some MPs are doing well when it comes to citizen engagement in terms of development, and one good example is Honorable Makande who is on record to be fully engaging the community when implementing the CDF.
“The guidelines are clear and the community ought to be told how the money is being used, and the communities need to take part in choosing the development they want, and all this needs the full involvement of the communities through the ADC members.”
According to Bamusi, the CSO is there to provide checks and balance as well as back stopping so that the community members are well served.
Makande said transparency and accountability is ideal when it comes to serving the community.
“The secret that I discovered in this work that I do as an MP is to be transparent and continuously engage the local leaders, failing which, the communities speculate a lot and in those speculations, problems arise,” he said.
Makande further urged all MPs in the district to always engage local leaders rather that party leaders.
He said: “Instead of engaging the party leaders, let me urge them to always engage the ADC. You know, I won as a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate but once I start implementing the projects as a DPP candidate and to those people who supported me only it means the other group will start speaking bad about me and the whole constituency may rise against me.
“One thing we need to remember always is that when we are voted as MPs, we are voted to represent the whole constituency, not a certain party. So for one to represent all there is need to fully work with the local structures.”
Deputy Director of Local Government Services, Darwin Kupangani reminded participants on the CDF and DDF guidelines.