Mzuzu City Constituency MP, Leonard Njikho, says the two-and-half-year and one-year tenures for city mayors and district council chairpersons, respectively, are not enough for the office bearers to effect tangible development.
Njikho said this Saturday in Mzuzu during the last of the six series of debate, which the National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) had been organizing across the country, concerning the councils’ set up.
The Mzuzu lawmaker added that if mayors are changed in every two-and-half years, many development projects may be abandoned because every leadership that comes in will try to look unique by making its own plans, hence having a bunch of uncompleted projects at the tail end.
“We are coming from a period where we had no councilors for so long. This means that there are a lot of issues that need to be taken care of,” said Njikho, suggesting five years as a reasonable term.
“Experience has shown that every time one comes into position, he or she tries to look unique by coming up with very new strategies- leaving out everything that his or her predecessor had left, instead of just continuing from where things were left,” he said.
Commenting on the development, Mayor for Mzuzu City, William Mkandawire, said every mayor may have his own philosophy towards development, of which continuous changing of positions may not have a tangible impact towards development.
Mkandawire also argued that every time a term of an office of a mayor draws to end, councilors may be busy with unnecessary politics since they will be eyeing the position, rather than putting much focus on development.
“If the philosophy surrounding the two-and-half year-term in office is that we should be working hard, then I don’t have any problem with it,” he said.
“But for one’s plans to be fully successful, a longer time frame is crucial. This is because you need to strategize first and then you implement, which is not easy to do within a shorter period,” Councilor Mkandawire added.
Mzuzu University based Historian and lecturer, Chrispin Mphande, concurred with the MP saying the two-and-half years technically are not enough to measure the successes and failures of the mayors.
“From development’s perspective, two-and-half year [period] is a non-starter. The period is too limited to have a meaningful development. Let the mayor finish five years, then we can measure his failures and successes,” he said.
According to the current Malawi Electoral Laws, a mayor and chairpersons for district councils are obliged to save tenures of two and half years and one year in office, respectively.–ManaFollow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :