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Pac faults MPs on Local Government Act

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The Public Affairs Committee (Pac) has faulted Members of Parliament for delaying to table the Local Government Act which was amended in 2010.

Pac Publicity Secretary, Peter Mulomole, made the remarks after a closed meeting with Minister of Local Government, Kondwani Nankhumwa, in Blantyre yesterday.

According to Mulomole, the pace of the process is very slow, arguing that the Act was among 19 issues Pac presented to aspiring presidential candidates during the campaign period of the 2014 tripartite elections.

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“Before the tripartite elections, all the candidates agreed to move in fast but now three years down the road, we are still where we were before the elections. Nothing has materialised on the ground, that is why we have come in. We feel we cannot go into 2019 with things the way they are today,” he said.

Mulomole further said the Act is yet to get to cabinet, arguing there are thorny issues in the Act that most MPs do not agree with.

“The most controversial issues in the Act include Members of Parliament voting at council level, so we are still lobbying on that because we do not want the bill to go to Parliament to be defeated. We want the bill to go to Parliament to be acted upon that is why we were sharing notes with the minister,” Mulomole said.

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Commenting on the matter, Nankhumwa admitted that the pace at which the amended Act is progressing is slow but was quick to say the Act itself has its own challenges to get to Parliament.

“We agree with Pac’s observation on the Act. We have agreed with Pac that we conduct sensitisation meetings at grass-roots level but also the stakeholders like the Members of Parliament, that is the Parliamentary Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs and Parliamentary Committee on Local and Rural Development,” Nankhumwa said.

Some of the things contained in the Act include recruitment of chief executive officers and district commissioners at council level, tenure of office of chairpersons at local level and powers of the minister at local level.

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