Government says the last cohort of councillors performed poorly in facilitating development in their respective wards and that is why 85 percent of them failed to retain their seats in the just ended Local Government Elections.
Principal Secretary for the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Charles Kalemba, has since cautioned the newly elected councillors to prioritise the development interests of their areas to sustain their trust with the people.
Kalemba was speaking in Mponela on Wednesday when he opened a training of trainers (ToT) workshop on orientation of councillors and other council members.
“The analysis of the just-ended Local Government Election (LGE) results shows that only 15 percent of the councilors have retained their positions. Their downfall can be attributed to a number of factors, including poor performance in their respective wards,” he said.
However, the PS conceded that the fall of the 85 percent of the councillors in the LGE is a clear demonstration that ‘we also have failed as a local government system’.
Kalemba therefore urged authorities at the district, municipal and city councils to come up with a roadmap that will help ensure that most councillors get re-elected during the next elections.
“The newly elected members have a critical need for capacity building due to the knowledge gap and lack of adequate information on the Local Government System in Malawi. As such, the first step is to orient them on the LG system. This ministry has, therefore, developed a capacity building programme and roadmap for the orientation and training of councilors, other council members and staff.
“The ministry is coordinating the capacity building programme in collaboration with the Malawi Local Government Association (MALGA). The capacity building programme aims at enhancing the new members with knowledge and skills to ensure their maximum contribution to council deliberations during full council meetings, for effective decision making and enhanced resource mobilisation skills. This is critical for effective service delivery and improved local economic development,” he emphasised.
Chiradzulu District Commissioner (DC) Reinghard Chavula observed that the last cohort of the councillors did not understand their oversight roles and responsibilities in spite of the combined efforts by government and non-state actors to orient them.
Chavula stated that majority of the councillors were overstepping their authority by trying to assume the roles of civil servants at the councils.