Thursday, January 15, 2009
Written by Lemmy Likando in Siavonga
Thursday, January 15, 2009 3:17:28 AM
COUNCILLORS who are attending a workshop in Siavonga on Monday threatened to abandon the workshop after word went round that they would only be paid K150,000 as out-of-pocket allowance for the five days.
The councillors are attending a five-day women-in-local-government workshop at Leisure Bay Lodge. The workshop has attracted women councilors from across the country.
Namwala Central ward councillor Ellie Mweetwa said it was unfortunate that councillors were not regarded as anything despite being voted into office.
"We can’t be here for five days and you only pay us K150,000. Don't take us for granted," she warned.
"This is January and we have a lot of responsibilities. We need to send our children to school so we need money."
The councilors were, however, calmed after assurances of reasonable allowances.
Local Government Association of Zambia (LGAZ) president Charles Mumena pleaded with the women not to abandon the workshop, assuring them that reasonable allowances would be paid to them during their stay in Siavonga.
And Mumena accused members of parliament from both the opposition and ruling party of being the ones blocking and frustrating efforts aimed at improving the welfare of councillors.
Mumena charged that councilors would have been getting reasonable allowances from government if only they were getting support from their members of parliament.
He said unfortunately, members of parliament were the ones in the forefront of frustrating and shooting down every little effort that councillors were making aimed at improving their current meagre allowances.
"I want to tell you now that your fellow councilors who are part of the NCC are being fought by your MPs for speaking on the need to increase allowances. Tell your MPs to come and challenge me if what I have said is not true because what they want is to see you continue living in misery" he said.
Currently government pays councillors attending municipal council meetings allowances amounting to K105, 000 of which K75, 000 is paid as subsistence allowance while K30,000 is transport refund.
Mumena observed that councillors despite being paid peanuts spend most of their time doing community projects unlike members of parliament who spend most of their time in Lusaka.