Urban governance to bring sanity in Malawi capital city

Lack of coordination among departments and governance structures under Lilongwe City Council and other state institutions is said to be compromising service delivery in the council and derailing the development of the city.

Lilongwe urban executive committee members meeting

The situation is allegedly made worse by residents most of who are said to be not aware of the city’s bylaws and their roles and responsibilities.

City Development Strategy Manager for Lilongwe City Council, Gift Kasamira, said this when the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) in the Archdiocese of Lilongwe briefed the Lilongwe urban executive committee about the Urban Governance project for the City of Lilongwe.

The seven months project will be implemented in partnership with Oxfam with financial support from Tilitonse Foundation under the thematic call window.

It aims at bringing together all players under Lilongwe City Council, residents and stakeholders so that they work in a manner that ensures progress.

Kasamira said the problem of lack of coordination is real and making the city look disorganized.

“For example, the Department of Planning and Development which deals with development control may find an illegal structure to demolish and then the Department of Health Services and Social Welfare issues a license for business to start in such a structure. This is happening. Two departments in the same council working differently,” he disclosed.

Added Kasamira: “There are so many instances when our partner, the Electricity Supply Commission of Malawi has connected electricity to structures that Lilongwe City Council has deemed illegal. One wonders why such things are happening”.

He commended CCJP Lilongwe for bringing the Urban Governance project, saying it will also enable the new councillors to serve people better by working properly with block leaders, Ward Development Committees, council secretariat and representatives of neighborhoods.

Kasamira added that the council would take advantage of the project to sensitise residents about the city’s bylaws and development strategy.

According to Commission Secretary for CCJP Lilongwe Noel Kondwani Mtonza, the Urban Governance project will also be bringing up existing legal documents that promote good governance in the city but are never utilized to ensure cohesion so that different players know who does what, when, where and how they are doing it.

“We will also be looking at how the city can develop with the revenue collected through various means such as city rates. Are people paying these rates? If not, what could be the problem?

“Another issue we have noted is that the city council does not have a service charter. We will also be working towards ensuring that this is done in order for the council to improve service delivery,” said Mtonza.

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johnbwanyama
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johnbwanyama

How are city rates used. Is LL council accountable to residents who pay city rates? How are city rates determined since most Malawians are so poor to pay exorbitant city rates. The council need to work with people on how to come up with reasonable rates. After end of year they should be able to explain to people how they have utilise the city rate other than demanding money from people and fail to account for them.