There is a stalemate at Kabwe Municipal Council between management and Patrotic Front (PF) councilors where the ruling party officials are threatening to ‘engineer’ the dismissals of council workers when they try to expose corruption.
The Kabwe Municipal Council has on two occasions failed to hold any of the mandatory full council meetings because of the policy differences between management and councilors.
On the first occasion, the full council meeting failed to take place because all the PF councilors walked out of the planned meeting while the gathering that was organised later was ignored by both factions.
The PF councilors walked out of the meeting after the management officials refused to engage in several illegal activities such as unplanned land allocation, award of tenders and street vending.
This has resulted in the poor service delivery because PF members who are councilors at the institution were in the habit of threatening management officials with dismissals and accusing them of being opposition party sympathysers.
This has prompted new provincial minister Obvious Mwaliteta to speak out because development was being delayed since councilors and management officials focused on settling personal scores at the expense of service delivery to the people.
According to sources at Kabwe Municipal council, PF councilors were bulldozing professional management officials to spend arbitrarily, flout tender procedures and award tenders to party cadres, some of whom did not qualify to do specified works.
The source said management workers were being threatened with dismissals and transfers to rural stations whenever they moved in to correct wrongs being perpetrated by party cadres.
The source said many PF councilors at Kabwe Municipal council were sympathysers of party secretary general Wynter Kabimba and Kabwe Central Member of Parliament James Kapyanga.
The source said the management at the council could not engage in the wrongs being proposed by the PF councilors because it was them who would remain answerable to audit queries and other due diligence procedures in future.
He said if left unchecked, work at the council would stall because no one wanted to engage in wrong activities.
“This is where the problem is. Mwaliteta was brought in less than a month ago and he finds himself in a place where people are fighting. He cannot discipline the PF councilors because they draw their power from above. The only thing Mwaliteta can do is to plead with the management and councilors to stop fighting without being seen to be against the councilors. Otherwise, Mwaliteta risks being transferred from Kabwe because these people don’t want to have any obstacle in their way,” the source said.
But Central Province Minister Obvious Mwaliteta appealed to management representatives and PF councilors to bury their bickering because the tug of war was having a toll on development.
Instead of taking a firm stand as man in charge, Mwalteta has the ministry of local government should quickly address the impasse at Kabwe Municipal Council because the local authority was failing to work to the expectation of the people.
Without specifying what the bickering was between management and councilors at Kabwe Municipal Council, Mwaliteta said he had noticed with concern the in-fighting at the council.
“If this situation is not resolved quickly, it has the potential to make development lag behind while other cities are going forward. I am less than a month now, I have noticed that there is too much bickering between the management and councilors,” he said.