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Pac seeks Speaker’s support on LGA reforms

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The Public Affairs Committee (Pac) has asked for Speaker of Parliament Richard Msowoya ’s support in lobbying the August House on Local Government Act reforms.

The reforms aim to remove the voting powers of Members of Parliament (MPs) at council level.

The call was made Thursday when nine members of Pac, led by Chairperson Rev Felix Chingota, had an interface with the Speaker at the Parliament Building in Lilongwe, according to Pac Executive Director Robert Phiri.

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“The meeting was very cordial and Pac learnt a lot from the engagement. This is the second meeting after we engaged Minister of Local Government last year, who also encouraged Pac in its advocacy role. Pac is not just advocating transformative leadership at national level but also at council level, hence this advocacy on LGA [Local Government Act] reforms,” Phiri said.

A statement which Pac chairperson presented to Msowoya says the advocacy for local government reforms is one of the 19 issues which were raised with the 12 presidential candidates in the 2014 tripartite elections.

The statement said all political parties represented in Parliament committed to the implementation of the reforms.

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“We take the view that the progress on these reforms has been slow. The sticky issues in our proposal are: proposal that Members of Parliament should not be voting at council level. Members of Parliament voting at council level is inconsistent with the Malawi Constitution which talks about separation of powers among the three arms of government.

“The other issues are Clause 10 which proposes to amend Section 14 of the Act to provide that the compositions of service and other committees shall take into account needs of special interest groups as determined by the council and provide for fair gender representation in the composition of the said committees,” reads the statement in part.

During the meeting, Chingota also told the Speaker that the implementation of the reforms will improve efficiency and effectiveness of local authorities and align the Act with objectives of decentralisation.

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