MALGA against ‘mob justice’ in councils, inducts new chairpersons

Malawi Local Government Association (MALGA)—an umbrella body of all local authorities—sensitized councillors against taking matters in their own hands whenever aggrieved with the conduct of secretariat members in their respective district councils.
MALGA Executive Director, Hadrod Zeru Mkandawire, gave an example of the closure of offices of district commissioners (DCs) and chief executive officers by councilors. He also highlighted the closure of a National Registration Bureau office in Mangochi, which happened recently.

Innobuild directors presenting a gift a to a council
Mkandawire made the remarks in Salima during an induction workshop for new district chairpersons and vice chairpersons, which aimed at strategically positioning these political leaders to be able to steer the local government business in the right direction.
Mkandawire said councilors, whenever aggrieved, should always resort to legal and policy frameworks with the guidance of Ministry of Local Government and MALGA as an association of local authorities.
“If anything, we need to be looking at what needs to change for us to address some of the defects contributing to red tapes disfranchising and frustrating key political actors in the local government system.
“Otherwise mob justice is not welcome. We have condemned this openly, including issuing press statements. Even at the opening of the induction workshop, we reiterated our position as an umbrella body, which is that we need to be doing things according to the law,” said Mkandawire.
a cross section of participants to the meeting

The MALGA Executive Director added the association is helping in pushing for the tabling in Parliament of the Local Government Amendment Bill of 2022 which he said seeks to address gaps some overzealous political actors were exploiting to expedite their political and personal interests at the expense of decentralization and local government system.

Turning to the induction workshop, which DCs also attended, Mkandawire said it was important considering that the chairpersons and vice chairpersons are elected every year, with the latest elections having been held a few months ago.
“These political leaders need to provide to their secretariat meaningful oversight which is within the policy and legal frameworks. More especially the DC as head of secretariat, they need to know what the chairpersons expect of them.
“We also noted gaps in terms of information flow and reporting processes between chairpersons and secretariat. There is also little awareness in terms of chairpersons knowing their roles and mandate.
“Chairpersons of service committees should also be able to know their mandate at heart for clear coordination and corporate boundary among all the actors,” he said.
One of the participating chairpersons, Gazio Chimzere, from Nkhotakota, said he had gained, among others, documentation skills which he said he will implement in his council to be able to keep records and minutes for full council and service committees meetings.
MALGA held the induction workshop with financial support from National Aids Commission and several other financiers and partners.
The other financiers were: ActionAid Malawi, TNM plc, SAT Guru, Sigerege Beach Resort, World Vision Malawi, Innobuild and Exploits University.

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