A governance expert has said decentralization process in the country is not working because of political power struggle between members of parliament and ward councilors as the legislators refuse to recognize the ward councilors as front line development public officers in an area.
The Zomba-based governance expert Happy Kayuni said development and democracy can work effectively and efficiently in a decentralization set up only if ward councilors take a leading role in development activities at area level.
“These ward councilors are supposed to be working with district development committees and village development committees but greedy members of parliament come on their way.
“For instance, the constituency development fund is supposed to be handled by ward councilors because these are the people who work directly with area development committees but this is not the case. Members of parliament make unilateral decisions,” he said.
He said members of parliament view ward councilors as political threats.
“We have a system that pushes ward councilors far away from development work, the government fears members of parliament more than ward councilors, this is a sad set up,” he said.
Mhango also apportioned blame on government on this undemocratic decentralization process, saying the government appeases members of parliament.
“Because the government pampers the members of parliament, there is no transparency and accountability in whatever they do. The government has created an awkward decentralization set up,” he said.
Members of parliament’s job description is to make laws, represent people in parliament and check and balances for the government through parliamentary committees.
The job description of ward councilors is to enhance development at area level, a job which the members of parliament have taken over in fear of losing an election.