The 2016 Local Government Amendment (No.2) Bill, which is at the Cabinet level, has proposed to amend various provisions of the Act and also to change titles of the “District Commissioner” and “Chief Executive Officer” of a City and Town Council to “Clerk of Council” and “Town Clerk”, respectively.
The Bill further proposes that the holders of the two offices shoud be appointed on fixed term contract instead of the current unfixed term contract and pensionable terms; to provide for the power to the Local Government Service Commission to appoint persons holding the posts in question; and to remove the powers of the Minister to transfer persons holding the offices from one Council to another.
This was noted during a two-day training workshop on proposed Local Government Act Amendments in Zomba .
The workshop was organized by the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) with financial support from European Union and Trocaire.
The Bill seeks to amend LGA, Cap. 22:01 of the laws of Malawi to ensure efficiency and effectiveness of local authorities and to align the Act with objectives of decentralization as stipulated in the Decentralization Policy. 1998.
It also proposes to amend Section 4 of the Act to provide for the establishment of a national professional body, to be called the “National Local Government Upgrading Committee”, which will be mandated to make recommendations for upgrading the status of a local government area whenever required.
The amendment bill further proposes to amend Section 6 of the Act to give Councils the function of making policy on local governance and development for the local government area.
Once amended, Local Government Service Commission shall be responsible for employing all persons holding the post Chief Executive Officer of a City, Municipal or Town Council or District Commissioner.
It also seeks to amend Section 5 to provide for the ranks of the chiefs that will be representing Traditional Authorities as members of the Council; and to provide for consideration of gender representation when appointing non-voting members of the Council to represent special interest groups.
The Bill has also proposed to increase the term of office of the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the District Councils from one year to two and half years renewable once, and to provide for the maximum terms of office that a person can hold the said office.
And speaking when he officially opened the two-day training, PAC Chairperson Dr Felix Chingota called the media to raise public awareness and build support for decentralization to ensure efficiency and effectiveness of duty bearers and local authorities in the country.
Chingota urged the media to always take stock of the Councilors and Members of Parliament so that they should be accountable to the electorates.
“There are squables between MPs and Council over development projects and other resources and also there is a thin line between the separation of powers, duties and responsibilities between Councilors and MPs as they fight for the same electorates.
“This is frustrating infrastructure and economic development of our local areas; as such there is need for the media to always support the decentralisation drive by publishing stories that would help bring sanity between them for the betterment of the electorates,”said Chingota.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :