Local Government Minister Vincent Mwale says government is not satisfied with the performance of Local Authorities and it has to this effect embarked on decentralization and devolution through a well set out action plan to segment councils into municipalities.
Speaking at the Patriotic Front interactive forum, which enables senior party officials and ministers to explain their vision for the country, Mr Mwale said effective January 01, 2018, the Lusaka, Ndola and Kitwe councils would be split into municipalities in order to improve service delivery.
“We are not really satisfied as government on how local authorities are performing at the moment and we want to make sure that they are equal to the task and so what we have done first is to make sure that there is decentralization,” said Mr Mwale
Mr Mwale said the move will enable councils to start providing services that are required from education to health services and to everything that falls under the council in the country.
The Minister said agricultural extension services are also among the functions that have been dissolved meaning that all agricultural extension officers will now be monitored locally from their respective municipalities.
“We want to make sure that people participate in decisions that are made at the local level and ensure that people monitor the services being provided by the local councils and are part of the governance system. When that happens you will see enhanced accountability and transparency as people will be placed at the center,” Mr Mwale said.
Mr Mwale said a communiqué has already been sent to Lusaka City Council which would now play an oversight role over what is known as Management Boards/municipalities to break down the functions of the city council.
He said all the seven constituencies in Lusaka district would be broken down into local authorities adding that management boards will be created for Matero, Munali, Kanyama, Mandevu, Kabwata, Lusaka central and Chawama respectively and officers will be employed to run the services of the would be newly created local authorities.
Mr Mwale said government is in a hurry to make sure that this programme takes place effective January 2018 in Lusaka and roll out the plans to Ndola and Kitwe.
“These three cities are the ones that we are going to start with and if we see that other towns are also growing very fast and that there is population explosion like Lusaka and that the councils there cannot meet the demands of the services to be provided, we will take the same line,” he said.
Mr Mwale noted that this has happened and it works all over the World, for example the city of London which is broken down into so many municipalities.
He said Lusaka city council will remain to give an over sight and collect fees from the all the areas and be able to down the same money that they have into those municipalities but what we will see is competition amongst all the municipalities and the move will provide services needed by the people.’
And Mr Mwale said government has released about K50 million constituency development funds (CDF) for 72 constituencies in the country adding that other constituencies would receive once funds were available.
Darlingtone Kabambe is a Media and Communication Studies student at the University of Zambia (UNZA) with special interest in political news, current affairs, community and education news.