By Stanley Nkhondoyachepa – Mana.
Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Thursday evening resolved to send Nkhotakota District Commissioner (DC), Dr. Medson Matchaya and three other officers on forced leave pending determination of their case.
The resolution was reached during fact finding meetings Principal Secretary (PS) in the Ministry, Charles Kalemba, accompanied by five other officials had with different groups of people in the district.
On Wednesday, over 41 council direct employees downed tools and sealed the District Council offices demanding their ten months wages in arrears.
They had demanded an immediate transfer of the DC and other Council officials alleging incompetence and maladministration.
From 10:43 am until after midnight, the Local Government PS held meetings with different groups of people in turns to establish what was amiss at the Council.
First were a group of Members of Parliament, councilors and chiefs, concerned representatives of junior employees, Council Directors and Sector Heads, before he met the DC and other officials being complained about.
Iin an interview, Nkhotakota District Council Chair, Sam Chunga confirmed of the development and said three other officials would go on leave on similar reasons.
According to the Chair, the other three are Procurement Officer, Aaron Kamowa, Human Resource Manager, Isabel Chakhame, Principal Human Resource Manager, Cossam Masanjala and Internal Auditor, Peterkins Mtawali.
But in a telephone interview Local Government PS denied sending the DC on leave, saying has just been summoned to ministry headquarters for a further hearing.
According to information sourced, during their meeting with the PS, Council Directors and Sector Heads complained of mistreatment and failure to adhere to laid down procedures by the DC and other officers especially on procurement issues.
They complained of unnecessary interference into their jobs which were rendering their presence at the Council meaningless, among many other allegations.
But in an earlier interview, Matchaya downplayed the accusations from the demonstrating direct employees as mere frustrations.
“The issue is not about incompetence or maladministration, they are just not happy with the changes I had brought at the council to bring sanity in how we do business” he was quoted as saying.
According to leader of the protesting direct employees, Master Phiri, the Ministry of Local Government has since ordered the Council to settle its wage arrears estimated at K29 million by August 15, 2020.
He expressed satisfaction with the resolutions and said he expects workers to get their wages starting Friday.
He said those with shortages will be deducted from their arrears and funds remitted to the council.
Meanwhile the protesting employees have resumed work.