TEMPERS flared at the Lusaka Civic Centre yesterday during a special council meeting when Lusaka Mayor George Nyendwa continuously curtailed councillors who wanted to debate the alleged illegal sale of council properties.
Mayor Nyendwa insisted that the councillors exercise their minds to the approval of the General Purpose and Valuation and Real Estate Committee report to raise a supplementary budget.
But the councillors remained undaunted and insisted on debating the controversial sale of council assets as the report which was tabled at yesterday meeting had insufficient details and also mentioned some of the properties which have illegally been sold.
Mayor Nyendwa was forced to defer the adoption of the minutes of the Joint Finance Human Resource and General Purpose and Valuation Real Estate Committee held on June 15, 2015 which if approved could have raised K2,793, 527 for the local authority.
This was after Mpulungu Ward 23 Councillor, Christopher Shakafuswa proposed that the meeting be deferred until council management prepared a detailed report to be debated on the floor on the proceeds from the sale of properties.
“I wish to propose that we defer the approval of this supplementary budget so that through the office of the Town Clerk we cause to be quoted in this house the monies that have been raised from the sale of properties so that this house can consider that report together with this supplementary budget so that we also approve what that money raised can be used for,” he said.
Mr Shakafuswa explained that the councillors should be allowed to evaluate the sale of the properties before the disbursement of the funds raised in order to prioritise expenditure.
Several other councillors failed to participate during the meeting because their contributions touched on the disposal of council property which the mayor refused to be discussed.
Munali Member of Parliament Professor Nkandu Luo supported the proposal to defer the adoption of the supplementary budget, citing inconsistency in information in the minutes.
Professor Luo said she could not be party to a proposal that lacked sufficient details for the projects involved.
“I think it is important that we approve things that are properly done than just doing it. I will be uncomfortable to approve this budget, because it is not clear on the activities.
“It just says maintenance and control of Mwatusanga Gardens, it does not mention about buildings plans, and K1 million is too much for only that.
I actually would not want to be party to the approval of this budget,” Pro Luo said.
And Roma Ward 17 Councillor Norman Nyendwa explained that the valuation roll in the budget was a mere speculation on the anticipated funds to be raised, but that with a detailed report from management, it would give the council an opportunity to plan with available finances.
Libala Ward 7 councillor Emmanuel Chanda has petitioned Lusaka Mayor to halt proceedings on the sale of council assets, until after the establishment of the process used in the sale of the property and in selecting a developer thereof.
With over 40 ward councillors in Lusaka, about 25 attended Special Council Meeting with four parliamentarians who included Lusaka Central’s Dr Guy Scott, Given Lubinda (Kabwata), Chawama’s Lawrence Sichalwe and Prof Luo.