Decentralisation pace riles NGO
Centre for Social Accountability and Transparency (Csat) Tuesday said the decentralisation drive is facing hurdles due to the absence of full support from stakeholders such as the Ministry of Local Government.
Csat Executive Director Willy Kambwandira told the Local Authorities and Rural Development Committee of Parliament that decentralisation was yet to be fully implemented due to stakeholders’ self-serving behaviour.
“They are reluctant to devolve functions and the biggest offender is the Ministry of Local Government, which wants other ministries, departments and agencies to decentralise their functions and, yet, they have not done that,” he said.
Kambwandira said, for instance, the development of village action plans and training of area development committee members and councillors was still done by the ministry.
He asked the committee to amend the Local Government Act to address challenges besetting the decentralisation process.
“Let the committee also consider the empowerment of councillors so that they have powers to reprimand district commissioners or chief executive officers whenever they are in the wrong,” he said.
Committee chairperson Horace Chipua said they met with Csat as one of the observers on decentralisation issues.
“The committee has taken note of them [issues]. The committee will include the observation in the report which will be presented to Parliament,” he said.
Last month, Local Government Minister Blessings Chinsinga said councils had inadequate skills and competencies to drive decentralisation efficiently and effectively.
The decentralisation programme kicked off in 1998 with major donor Germany, which pulled out in 2014 due to a reported lack of commitment from the Central Government. The devolution of power was meant to promote participatory democracy and decision-making for inclusive local development.