Govt gives local authorities green light

GOVERNMENT has given the green light to local authorities to buy motorbikes for councillors but said this depends on the availability of resources.

Most local authorities are facing cash flow challenges due to non-payment of bills by residents and other ratepayers.

Government has however, said there is no need to provide transport for village heads and headmen.

Local Government and Public Works Deputy Minister Marian Chombo said this last Wednesday in the National Assembly during the Question and Answer session.

She was responding to MPs who had quizzed her on why Government was not buying either motorcycles or bicycles for village heads and headmen.

The legislators argued that since Government was buying cars for chiefs there was also a need to provide the lower tiers of the traditional leadership structure some mode of transport.

Other legislators also wanted to know what Government was doing to ease transport challenges for councillors as some of them travel long distances to access their wards.

Deputy Minister Chombo said Government has approved that local authorities can buy motorbikes for councillors while dismissing the need to provide transport to village heads and headmen.

“Right now we have a programme for councillors whereby those councils that can afford are allowed to buy motorbikes for their councillors. I think most of the local authorities have done that,” said Deputy Minister Chombo.

She said since village heads have been 20 to 30 households under their jurisdiction, they did not need transport to service the people.

On concerns that some traditional leaders were not receiving allowances, she said the programme has been hampered by Covid-19 as some of them are yet to be registered.

Deputy Minister Chombo said boundary disputes was another problem delaying the disbursement of allowances to traditional leaders.

“Right now we have a programme which has been hindered by the Covid-19 pandemic whereby we are going to do the delimitation and the boundaries so that each chief knows where his boundary starts and ends. The finances we have been given but because we cannot conduct those exercises during this Covid-19 era, we have been delayed. What I however, want to assure you is that the issue is being addressed,” said Deputy Minister Chombo.

She said Government was in the process of reviving some chieftaincies to address the problem of self-imposed traditional leaders.

“In resettlement areas there is resuscitation of chieftainship that is going on and we are going through the legal framework that is right now at the Attorney-General’s Office. We have seen in some areas the emergence of self-appointed headmen,” she said.

— CHRONICLE

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