Chikumbu Transparency and Accountability Committee (TAC) in Mulanje has proposed the introduction of legal instruments to empower the electorate to sue political leaders who do not fulfil promises made during campaign.
Pan African Civic Educators Network (Pacenet) facilitated the formation of TAC in all six traditional authorities (T/As) of Mulanje as a tool for monitoring transparency and accountability in the implementation of development projects and consolidating good governance at local level.
Speaking at a consultative meeting held at Ntenjera Court last week, TAC executive member Bernard Chiunda said the electorate will never realise meaningful benefits of democracy in the absence of Section 64 and other legal instruments obliging politicians to honour their promises.
He observed that such instruments would help communities to achieve socio-economic aspirations within a specified time frame.
“Of course, there are initiatives we are taking to ensure our political leaders don’t default. These initiatives include the signing of memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with aspiring councillors and MPs [members of Parliament]. But that is not enough because MoUs aren’t binding. We need something tangible,” said Chiunda, who is also chairperson of Chikumbu Area Development Committee (ADC).
Pacenet executive director Steven Duwa said the demand for legal instruments for entrenching transparent, accountable and honest leadership is a clear demonstration that people are appreciating the need to safeguard their social, political and development rights.
He said the aim of the project is to improve and strengthen citizens knowledge on local governance and the decentralisation system, thereby equipping the grassroots with skills for monitoring the performance of duty-bearing structures.
Pacent is implementing a year-long project titled ‘Enhancing Citizen Action for Accountable and Responsive Local Governance’ with financial support from Hivos—a Zimbabwe-based human rights organisation.