Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar) students have said councillors are critical for rural development and there is need to vote for them in large numbers to ensure development is spread across the country.
The sentiments came on Saturday 11th May 2019 at Luanar (Bunda Campus) during a debate titled: “Is it important to vote for councillors?” which was organized by Bunda Climate Change and Social Justice Society with support from Local Government Accountability and Performance (LGAP), a local governance project in Malawi funded by USAID and UKAID.
TarcizioKalaundi, one of the panellists, said councillors represent local people at the council level, bringing development needs to the attention of the leadership at the district level to speed.
“When councils are represented by strong and development oriented councillors, service delivery improves because they provide oversight to the council. Without councillors in place, it is difficult for development to spread to rural areas,” said Kalaundi.
Delilah Mbvundula also urged the partipants to vote for councillors in the next tripartite elections because councillors are the only representatives of rural people who know the exact challenges poor people face.
“Councillors are very key in development and in ensuring that our councils are strong and able to deliver on their duty,” she said.
However, some students lamented the fact that most councillors are not well educated, a development which makes council staff to steal public funds easily due to lack of understanding and competence among the councillors. The students called for the voters to vote for councillors who are well educated and can challenge technocrats at the council level.
Regional Manager for NICE Public Trust, Christopher Naphiyo, urged the students to go out in large numbers and vote for their councillors. He also urged students to vote correctly to lessen chances of null and void votes.
LGAP social accountability manager, Edwin Msewa, said LGAP decided to target students in universities because they can easily influence fellow youth to vote in large numbers considering that over half of the 6.8 million voters in the May 21 elections are the youth.
Concluding the discussion, a lecturer at Luanar – Chrispin Kambani Banda, called upon students to actively take part in politics to ensure that the country is governed by high quality leaders who can deliver public services. He also encouraged students to contest as councillors after they graduate to address complaints of low education among councillors.
During the debate, the panellists included Steve Kayira, Henry Hechiba, LoneyChipawo, Vince Chinyama, Delilah Mbvundula, and Tarcizio Kalaundi.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :