By Wezzie Mwangonde*
Chitipa District Council is one of the councils that have received funding for development projects under the Governance to Enable Service Delivery (GESD) in the 2022/2023 financial year, one of which is the newly constructed slaughterhouse. This has raises concerns among Butchery Association members in the district due to their low participation and lack of some structures at the site.
In an interview, recently, Chitipa Butchery Association Chairperson, Siasa Nyondo said the Association has had low participation during the construction of the slaughterhouse, citing that none of their members was part of the project management committee.
Nyondo explained that some structures are missing at the site such as toilets, manure bin and inside tap water. This he said has left them with unanswered questions as they are still waiting for the council to invite them for the meeting to discuss the completion of the construction.
“The council only involved us during the project’s inception meeting where they committed to include one of us in the project management committee which did not happen until we saw the newly constructed structure on our own and the council has never invited us again. We are still waiting for them to invite us,” said Nyondo.
According to former Chitipa Civil Society Organisations Network Chairperson, Sydney Simwaka the contractor finished the construction of the slaughterhouse within the construction period from 7th December, 2022 to 7th March 2023, but said he is unable to respond to why the structure is not being utilized by the people till now.
He has also urged the people in the district to have interest in the projects that are constructed using public funds and participate fully in order to promote transparency and accountability in development activities in the country.
“The construction finished within the period but the council would be in a better position to respond as to why the slaughterhouse is not being utilized because we do not know the reasons. May be we need to wait for the handover ceremony,” explained Simwaka.
In his remarks, the owner of Mazangala Building Construction, Ranson Simbeye has confirmed that the slaughterhouse’ keys were handed over to the Chitipa District Council in September this year.
Simbeye said, the construction of toilets, houses and maintenance of feeder road to the slaughter house which has a lot of potholes were not part of the contractor’s job.
“We handed over the keys and everything is in the hands of the government. According to the bill of quantity (BOQ) construction of toilets and houses at the site were not part of the contract as well as maintenance of the feeder road,” said Simbeye.
Commenting on the matter, Chitipa District Council Director of Planning and Development Jossen Tembo said the relevant committees such as the Village Development and main market committee were engaged. He has attributed delays in opening the slaughterhouse to lack of electricity, vandalism of electrical cables and maintenance of the feeder road to the site.
He added that electricity and water were part of the project budget. Currently, the council is sourcing funds for the maintenance of the feeder road so that people can start using the structure.
“There are some vendors who are concurring with the sentiments of other market users that the slaughterhouse is located very far from the market, therefore, we want to engage them to start using the structure because it is theirs.”
National Local Governance Finance Committee Board Chairperson, Richard Chapweteka declined to comment saying he has not yet visited the site.
Chitipa District slaughterhouse is constructed in Chitipa Central Constituency at Yamba Ward by Mazangala Building Construction Company to the tune of K39,550,072.00 under GESD.
*Wezzie Mwangonde is Chief News Editor for Tuntufye FM of the Diocese of Karonga. She writes this story as part of the Voices of Accountability Programme.