CCJP Engages Citizens on Public Expenditures Tracking
The Catholic Commission for Justice and peace (CCJP) has engaged Citizens Action Groups (CAGs) and Community Journalists (CJs) in Chikwawa on Public Expenditure Tracking in a bid to promote social accountability and citizenly participation in local development.
The training which covered topics like Citizen Public Service Delivery Charter, expenditure tracking and Community Investigative journalism comes amid visible gaps ranging from weak citizen participation and voices in local development to lack of access to public information.
CCJP National Governance Coordinator, George Chiusiwa, believes citizenly knowledge and involvement in the local development process can kick-in sanity in public expenditure and avert political capture of local development.
“The citizens should be knowledgeable of existing development funds. This is the first step and paramount way through which public envelops like the District Development Fund and Constituency Development Funds can be tracked.
“We also want citizen journalists to have the skills on how to gather, analyze and disseminate information at community level so that in a way we suppress corruption and unsupported public expenditures," Chiusiwa explained.
Speaking on the sidelines of the same event, Chikwawa CCJP Diocesan Secretary, Lewis Msiyadungu, stressed on the need to have regular accountability summits between local government duty bearers and community groups.
"For a transparent and effective local development process, We want communities to be engaged by duty bearers and adopt their say throughout the implementation process of public projects," said Msiyadungu.
The training which targeted CAGs and CJs from Traditional Authority Ndakwera and Mlilima comes through a project termed ‘Promoting Social Accountability in the Management of Local Development Projects’ being funded to the tune of sixty million Kwacha by Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa.
In his reaction, Ndakwera Area Development Committee member for Francis Chidothi stated that the training has exposed a huge knowledge gap on the guidelines for the management of local development funds and how citizens can gather and disseminate information at community level.
The OSISA funded project is being implemented amid a litany of reported cases of misuse of local Government development funds and strained relationship between citizens and local council duty bearers.