North West District councillors, including council chairperson are not happy with allocation of constituency development funds, which they say are used by Members of Parliament to gain political mileage instead of addressing constituency needs.
Speaking during a special council meeting on Friday last week, Council Chairperson, Duncan Enga, who doubles as councillor for Thamalakane North, said: “I do not want a situation whereby an MP stands in this house and tells us how he wants the money to be distributed or used. We are progressive leaders, this money does not belong to the MPs but development of the people.”
Enga was responding to comments by other councillors who have suggested that area MPs were making it hard for the political wing of the council to prioritise development according to people’s needs.
“We are all here because we were elected by the people. So when an MP takes development to an area which has few people because he wants political mileage, we will not just sit in silence as though we cannot see what is happening,” Enga expressed his frustration further.
Constituency development projects are funded through office of Parliament every financial year. Each constituency has P10 million of development. However according to the North West District Council Chairman, area MPs “have this sense of entitlement because a constituency is tied to office of Parliament. What the MPs have to remember however is that as much as they are heads at constituency levels we are as much managers, so when we consult people they should attend such meetings,”
One of the councillors, Alec Molelo had earlier expressed the same frustration and suggested that, “In fact these MPs make sure developments are taken to their home wards, that is, their birth places. Development are not fairly distributed.”
Elections are expected this year in October and the council is feeling the pressure to deliver promises including building staff houses and opening satellite schools in small villages surrounding Maun. Some of the schools including Nxaraga, where teachers sleep inside the administration office, Jao, which has porta cabins but has no electricity and portable water and Sixaxa which needs a kitchen and its equipment for feeding purposes.
Another satellite school has long been built in Khwai, but due to lack of staff houses, the school has not been opened, while students from Boro have to travel a long distance of 36km by foot every day to and from school in a wildlife infested area.
“Elephants and buffaloes roam the place and sometimes the students are advised to stay at home when the animals are charging and therefore miss classes. If I had my way, I would build a school in Mababe, which is central and it will make it easier for every village to access the school” added the council chairperson.