Written by Stanley Nkhondoyachepa
Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development has transferred Nkhotakota District Commissioner (DC), Dr. Medson Matchaya to Thyolo in a bid to resolve disagreements between the Council and its direct employees over wage arrears.
Both Matchaya and Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development Public Relations Officer (PRO), Muhlabase Mughogho have confirmed the development in separate interviews with Malawi News Agency (MANA).
According to Mughogho, Matchaya and others officers postings, which she described as normal, will see Thyolo DC, Justine Kathumba moving to Neno to replace Blessings Nkhoma who will be heading to Nkhotakota to replace Matchaya.
On Wednesday, last week, over 40 council direct employees in Nkhotakota downed tools to force Council pay wage arrears and demanded the transfer of the DC on allegations of maladministration and mistreatment of officers.
Principal Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Charles Kalemba, in a fact finding mission, met different concerned groups in a bid to end the impasse.
Kalemba, accompanied by five other officials took turns to meet traditional and political leadership in the district, council secretariat, concerned junior employees, and those under fire including the DC.
But in an interview on Friday, Local Government PS denied sending Matchaya on forced leave saying he only invited him to the head office for some administrative arrangement.
However, Nkhotakota District Council Chairperson Sam Chunga maintained Matchaya and other officers at the council were sent on leave.
According to Chunga, the others are Procurement Officer Aaron Kamowa, Human Resource Manager Isabel Chakhame, and Internal Auditor Peterkins Mtawali.
“As far as I know, that was the resolution after all the meetings, I cannot lie to you about what was resolved” said Chunga.
Sources confided to MANA that during the meeting, Council Directors and Sector Heads complained to the PS about maladministration and poor leadership style by Matchaya.
But in an earlier interview on Thursday before the meeting, 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.
Speaking in an interview, leader of the protesting workers, Master Phiri expressed happiness at the resolutions and hoped for the better at the council.
“We are happy with the resolutions, Council has been ordered to pay us and we will get our wages by August 15” he said.
According to Phiri, the arrears will cost Council about K29 million.
Meanwhile all the striking junior workers had resumed their work on Friday