By Synd Kalimbuka
Chiefs in Zomba District have challenged the council to stop elections of Area Development Committees (ADCs) unless there is good consultation and involvement of relevant stakeholders.
The chiefs accused Zomba District Council secretariat for not informing traditional leaders in the district on election of Village Development Committees (VDCs).
In an interview on Monday at Annies Lodge after a review meeting of women empowered for leadership by Women Legal and Resource Centre in Zomba, senior chiefs, traditional authorities and sub-traditional authorities in the district said politicizing election of development committees will compromise implementation of development activities in the district.
Senior chief Mlumbe said he was surprised to hear that the committees have already been elected in his area without his knowledge.
Mlumbe said being a T/A level structure, he was supposed to know what was going on so that they could work together in the implementation of development projects.
“I wonder why ward councilors and political party members were informed and not me,” he queried.
Chief Mlumbe added that involvement of politics in the election of committees would interfere with the whole process of development of the district.
On his part Senior chief Chikowi expressed concern on non-consideration of women in such committees.
Chief Chikowi said there are all male members in some of the committees elected, accusing district council extension workers who facilitated the process that they did not give good direction.
She said leaving women behind in these committees is the same as refusing women empowerment strategy the council promised to promote which will affect the 50:50 campaign government and other stakeholders are advocating for.
According to T/A Nkagula, extension workers who were assigned to conduct elections favoured some people to be elected.
“In my area, the information we got was that we had to send four members only while other T/As were told 15 members which shows that there was something going on behind the scenes,” said T/A Nkagula.
As a way forward, chiefs agreed to meet the council’s Chief Director of Planning and Development to address these issues.
They further promised to stop the process of electing area development committees’ chairpersons if the council would continue sidelining them and politicizing the process.
However, Acting District Commissioner for Zomba, Isaac Ali said their claims were not valid.
Ali said after a full council meeting which was held in June this year, the Director of Planning and Development wrote letters informing all chiefs on the elections and the process of development committees.
“The council could not interfere in any way during the process because the reconstitution of VDC is only by nomination by villagers not anyone else.
“The only challenge the council noticed was that some traditional leaders have their own candidates imposed for the position,’ said Ali.-MANA