Malawi Local Government Association (Malga) says it will sanction a study to understand the political economy of political leadership elections in local government councils after incumbent mayors lost in recent elections.
In an interview yesterday, Malga executive director Hadrod Mkandawire said the mayoral elections in five urban councils this month produced unprecedented outcomes which have led to a complete overhaul of political leadership.
He said the study findings will be translated into either programming “if there are capacity gaps and or policy dialogue/law reform or both”.
While stressing that Malga does not take sides in elections, Mkandawire said it is interesting that neither mayor nor deputy mayor have retained their seats. He said such an outcome cannot be a matter of coincidence.
He said: “This cannot be a sheer coincidence, but there is more to it and to that extent, we are planning to sanction a study to understand the political economy of political leadership elections in local governments.”
Mkandawire also expressed worry that no council has elected a female mayor.
“It is regrettable that none of the five councils has elected a female mayor. We commend Lilongwe City, Zomba City and Luchenza Municipality for electing women as deputy mayors, but this means women will continue to play a pelipheral role in local governance,” he said.
In a separate interview, Minister of Local Government Blessings Chinsinga, a political scientist himself who has extensively researched on governance in local councils, said as a believer of evidence gathered through research, he supports the study as it will indeed help relevant stakeholders to appreciate the dynamics of politics at local government.
Former Lilongwe City Council deputy mayor Richard Banda defeated incumbent Juliana Kaduya and in Mzuzu City Council, former deputy mayor Gift Desire Nyirenda also upstaged then incumbent Kondwani Brian Nyasulu.
In Kasungu, Hesse Nyangu replaced Socrates Jere as municipal mayor. Jere decided not to contest.
In Zomba, Davie Maunde, who once served as deputy mayor between 2014 and 2019, defeated the incumbent Benson Bulla in mayoral elections.