Ten civil society organisations (CSOs) in Karonga have recommended an immediate review of qualifications of prospective candidates for local government elections.
The recommendation came on the sidelines of a Community Action in Local Government Accountability (Calga) Project review meeting.
In an interview, Future Planning for the Child project officer Mike Munthali said most ward councillors lack the technical know-how to read, understand and interpret issues the council secretariat writes.
He said the project has empowered the community in its catchment areas to provide checks and balances to elected and community leaders.
Said Munthali: “However, there is lack of transparency and accountability on project implementation among council officials, the community, members of Parliament [MPs] and ward councillors that leads to abandonment of funded projects.
“This is why we have recommended for the implementation of a deliberate policy that will set minimum qualifications for ward councillors because the council is the hub of development that needs well qualified people.”
Calga project officer Vincent Bwinga described the recommendations as a true reflection of the situation, saying the knowledge gap increases conflicts between councillors and MPs.
“We will see how to lobby for funding from donors to sensitise the community to the need to elect leaders who are able to understand, analyse and critique issues such as audit, financial and quarterly reports,” he said.
Bwinga said so far the project has empowered the community to challenge duty-bearers on a number of issues such as abandonment of funded-projects such as Mlare and Pusi market shelters and Wiliro Police Unit.