Councillor, WDC confess ignorance on role and responsibilities

Councillor for Lumbadzi Ward in Dowa, Bishat Chiwombe, and members of the Ward Development Committee (WDC) cited ignorance on their roles and responsibilities as a main cause for protracted bickering between local and political leaders.

They made the sentiments last week during an interface meeting the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace of the Archdiocese of Lilongwe (CCJP Lilongwe) convened the meeting in partnership with Lilongwe City Council (LCC) with financial support from the Tilitonse Foundation.

Sandram–We’re strengthening mechanisms of policy and institutional coordination

“Our protracted war over our roles and responsibilities is adversely affecting development in the area,” said Chiwombe.

The meeting targeted the councillor, traditional leaders, block leaders, WDC members.

CCJP Lilongwe, with financial support from Tilitonse Foundation, is implementing an urban governance project in partnership with Oxfam Malawi to create a platform for dialogue between stakeholders in the City of Lilongwe after realizing that they are poorly coordinated, which is compromising service delivery in the city.

The dialogue meeting last week was aimed at raising awareness of the roles of governance structures in Lumbadzi Ward and resolving any misunderstandings that have been hampering development.

At least 20 block leaders and WDC members, including Lumbadzi Ward councillor, Bishat Chiwombe, attended the dialogue meeting where participants expressed themselves freely and sought clarification on a number of things they do not understand.

City Development Strategy Manager for Lilongwe City Council, Gift Kasamila, said these governance structures needed to understand their roles and start working together in harmony in order to realize progress.

“Now that we have enlightened them, we expect that they will be able to stick to their roles while cooperating, which will lead to coordinated implementation of development projects for the benefit of communities. We do not expect any more conflicts,” said Kasamila.

In his remarks, councillor Chiwombe asked for more interface meetings, saying there are still more things people need to know and understand.

According to Chiwombe, some of the projects that have been affected in the area due to confusion among governance structures are: roads, bridges and school blocks.

CCJP Lilongwe urban governance project coordinator, Mwai Sandram, said the project facilitates the engagement of officials at the council and stakeholders in urban governance to promote and enhance collaborative approaches that strengthen mechanisms of policy and institutional coordination for people-centered development planning.

Sandram said through the project, CCJP Lilongwe is conducting town-hall meetings where LCC senior staff members, including the mayor, chief executive officer and directors of the departments face residents in interface discussions where the latter highlight and seek solutions to their challenges.

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