Peoples Party dirty politics irks Thyolo chiefs
The People's Party (PP) of president Joyce Banda has shocked traditional leaders and people in some areas where it is ousting democratically elected apolitical leaders of Area Development Committees by replacing them with its party zealots.
Inkosi Bvumbwe told The Daily Times that he is surprised why some party zealots are politicising the development committee, and fears that this will negatively affect developmental activities in the area.
"Development activities are easily implemented when they are not politicised and our fear is that the taking over of the committees by party diehards will result in them advancing their political and not developmental agenda," he said.
Last Friday's visit to Traditional Authorities Bvumbwe, Nchilamwera and Kapichi in the district established that the exercise of dethroning apolitical village committees and replacing them with PP diehards had been going on since September 17.
The visit also witnessed a meeting convened by Thyolo District Governor of People's Party Andrew Chipote where an Area
Development Committee— which is at TA level— was being reconstituted at TA Kapichi's headquarters in the absence of district council officials.
"Where were you yesterday when we had a similar exercise in TA Bvumbwe's area? This has been going on since Monday and we'll be finishing on Tuesday next week," said Chipote as PP young patriots attempted to bar the media from covering the event.
But before finishing discussions with Chipote on whether or not to cover their event, the meeting was abruptly dismissed in the middle of TA Kapichi's speech and asked the locals to disperse as they said they had been "ambushed" by the fact-finding media tour.
Chipote could not give further interviews as the young patriots prevented him from doing so. They led him to join his party leadership and TA Kapichi who had already boarded a Mitsubishi Pajero MG617X.
But the party's Thyolo Central Constituency Governor Weston Millias said the meeting saw the party firing the 12 ADC members deemed non-PP thereby replacing them with PP members.
"We're not satisfied at all with the few 12 PP members in the 30-member ADC. I would have loved if all members in the committee were PP because that's a ruling party; it's our time," said Millias.
Commenting on the developments in the district, Bvumbwe who admitted opposing the idea of reconstituting these committees but budged to pressure from his superiors said this will have a negative impact on developmental activities.
"We've seen interference from PP with Area Development Committees which is likely to jeopardise government's efforts to help its people and bring development.
"Much as I would not want to comment on the ongoing farm input subsidy programme in the district, I can smell some jeopardy with this politicians' interference with Area Development Committees," Bvumbwe said.
Bvumbwe said he has already registered his grievance on the matter to Thyolo District Commissioner Lawford Palani, saying some of the fired members were signatories in some projects.
Palani was reportedly out of office when the fact finding team visited his office on the same day.
One of the non-governmental organisations working in the area, Pan- African Civic Educators network which is running a Tilitonse programme in the area, bemoaned the restructuring saying it will derail their projects.
"We had already trained these committees and they were doing well in terms of implementation. It will be difficult for us to work with these new committees members who have no idea of what we're doing," said Pacenet executive director Steven Duwa.
According to Bvumbwe, Area and Village Development Committee are instituted by district and town councils. They are supposed to comprise members who are non partisan and are elected in their areas.