The Zomba City Council is expected to elect a new Mayor during the its second quarterly meeting slated between April and May this year.
However, there are grey areas on the matter, especially regarding the position of the Deputy Mayor.
Both local government authorities and Zomba City Officials are blank on whether the deputy Mayor will have to resign if he chooses to compete for the Mayorship.
The office for the Mayor of Zomba fell vacant after the death of Joan Ntaja early this month.
Ministry of Local government spokesperson Muhlabase Mughogho told said on Thursday that the decision rests in the hands of the council.
“It is the council which can decide when is going to have another council meeting. At headquarters we are just waiting for them to be ready because everything regarding the Mayor is done within the council.”
“As usual the elections will be open and that all interested Ward councilors including the Deputy Mayor can compete for the position of Mayor,” she hinted.
But Mughogho said there were some legal problems regarding the elections, especially if the deputy Mayor chooses to compete for the position of Mayor.
“But another challenge that we have is that standing orders are not clear. Suppose the deputy mayor wants to compete and then he fails the Mayorship elections, will his office be declared vacant by the time he is competing or will he come back to his deputy position once he fails? All this needs to be addressed before the council meeting starts,” urged Mughogho.
Mussa Mwale, who is Acting Chief Executive Officer for Zomba City said the first council meeting took place in February and the second quarterly meeting is likely to take place before 1st June, 2015.
Mwale said the council has already asked the Local Government to provide guidance on some standing orders which he noted were not clear.
“Definitely, the Mayor position will be open to every Ward Councilor in this city including the deputy Mayor but we want government to tell us whether the office of deputy Mayor can be declared vacant or not if the current deputy mayor shows interest to compete for the position.
“Also if he fails to make during the Mayor elections, will he retain his deputy Mayor seat or not. All these need directions from the local government before we hold our second council quarterly meeting scheduled between April and May. Some of these standing orders need to be amended so that it should explain clearly on some issues like those I mentioned above,” he said.
The former Mayor of the city late Joan Ntaja died aged 31. She won the Zomba Central Ward under the Democratic Progressive Party-DPP.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :