Activists have attributed unsustainable growth in local councils to frequent transfers of district commissioners (DCs) and other high-ranking officers by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.
Two weeks ago, the ministry moved its director of rural development Emmanuel Bambe to Zomba to replace Bennet Nkasala as DC. Nkasala, on the other hand, was sent to Blantyre to take over from Charles Kalemba as DC while Kalemba has filled Bambe’s shoes at the ministry’s headquarters.
Human rights activist Timothy Mtambo has described the reshuffling as counterproductive to the councils’ effective development.
However, the ministry has defended the transfers as a necessary move.
Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development spokesperson Muhlabase Mughogho said in an interview the reshuffles were part of government’s postings as required by exigencies of service.
The officers received their letters during the first week of August and have all since reported at their new duty stations.
Mtambo, who is executive director of Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR), said he did not see sustainable change taking place due to the constant reshuffling which he observed was disturbing production in the councils.
He said: “When someone is promoted from one position to another, it is understandable. It is inevitable. But when the reshuffle comes about without reason then it becomes worrisome.”
Mtambo observed that the constant reshuffling affects officers’ effective implementation of their plans and strategies resulting in zero outcome.
The recent restructuring of the DCs and a director follows another in April which saw eight DCs and 15 directors being moved from one place to the other without given reasons.
After the April reshuffle, the donor-funded Kalondolondo programme, which monitors service delivery in councils, grumbled about the transfers arguing they derail development because councils’ chiefs are given little time to effectively implement their programmes.
But Mughogho maintained the transfers are aimed at ensuring improved performance of the councils.