A CIVIC leader in Choma district says local authorities in the country have become institutions of theories and not practicals. Speaking at a public consultative hearing on the council’s services organised by Youth Development Organisation with sponsorship from GIZ at ZNFU Hall in Choma on Monday, Mubula ward councillor Nerve Moonga said bureaucracy in councils was a clear indication that they had become institutions of theories.
“The process of doing things, especially when it comes to finances, is unbearable, making it difficult for quick service delivery,” he said.
Moonga wondered the motive behind the council’s delays in realising funds meant for ward development. He said the habit by public officers to sit on funds meant for development was detrimental and an assault on people’s patience.
“Despite having made submissions for development, nothing has happened. We don’t know the motive behind these delays. Should people of Choma continue suffering? Citizens are tired because some of these projects have taken long to finish while others have become white elephants yet money meant for ward development is lying idle in the bank,” Moonga said.
He said failure by the council to work within the right time frame was making the work of civic leaders difficult to deliver services to the electorate.
“People in markets are not told how much is collected from them and how that money is used and you expect them not to blame the council of failing to effectively give them quality service? As a council we need to be transparent to the people we give services to and be accountable to them,” Moonga said.
He added that communication must be made regarding the utilisation of levies collected to avoid creating anxiety on the public.
“The 2018 funds meant for ward development under the ward development committees has not been given yet to the committees to carry out the services required,” complained Moonga.
And another participant Richmos Musune said services the local authority was rendering were poor.
“There is too much unnecessary bureaucracy in the manner the council does its procedures. We now suspect that the council is working with banks to sit on the money meant for public development. They don’t want to give ward development committees funds despite approving projects in wards. They say money is available at the bank but can’t be withdrawn yet monthly charges are being effected and it is finishing. Why should the council sit on development?” he asked.
Musune said the community was doing a lot of work without help from the council, despite paying levies. He urged the council to improve its services. Kalukungu market chairlady Christen Munkombwe said while the council was collecting levies from marketeers, there was no service given to the people.
“The council doesn’t take services to the market yet they collect levies on a daily basis and people are complaining to me as chairlady that ‘why don’t you give us services despite collecting money from us’,” said Munkombwe.
Lewis Maketo challenged the council to do proper planning when giving plots to the public.
“We need decency in the manner, in the way, things are done,” said Maketo.
Choma Municipal Council senior community development officer Dada Kanyinji said the concerns raised acted as feedback to the local authority.
He said there was no need for people to view the council as a bad public service organisation.
“Let people view the council as a cooperating partner. As council, we have failed the community on play parks yes, but there is no way that the council could collude with banks to steal people’s money. Money allocated was K7,000 for each ward,” he explained.
“Due to less resources we appealed to management to increase the amount of resources meant for these wards from K7,000 to K39,000 and they agreed to increase to cater for everything requested by ward development committees. What these wards ask is too much than the money available, no wonder we fail to move in as council. But the money is intact in the bank.”
Kanyinji pledged that the local authority would improve its services.
“Services being talked about at Kalukungu we provide actually in all markets. We pay bills for water and we collect garbage. The dirt at Kalukungu market is not generated from there but from houses. People are dumping garbage from their houses at the market at night,” said Kanyinji. “No wonder it looks as if we are not doing anything as a council. Water bills at the market are also rising because people fetch water from there for home consumption hence the burden. Despite garbage from homes being dumped at markets we are collecting as council but still people are only seeing the grey areas and not the good side.”
And YDO executive director Partner Siabutuba said the issue of public revenue collection in the country was not making sense because it was not tallying with services provided.
He said it was immoral for anyone to collect revenue without providing services.
“Let our conscience speak to ourselves. We see money collected from toll gates and markets yet no tangible services are seen,” said Siabutuba.