Lilongwe City Council (LCC) mayor Willy Chapondera has dismissed claims by block leaders that the resolution of annulling their positions and calling for immediate elections is politically motivated.
Speaking in an interview on Tuesday, Chapondera said the council wants the leaders to be elected democratically.
“Current block leaders were just handpicked and imposed on the people by previous political administrations. Therefore, the council wants the leaders to be elected through voting,” said the mayor.
This comes against a background that some block leaders are accusing the mayor of politicising their positions.
He said some long-serving block leaders had been objecting to development projects in their wards which propelled an urgent decision to correct the mess.
“These block leaders should come forward for a round-table discussion. That is the only way of sorting it out. They need to know that despite the letter bearing my signature, the decision was not solely made by me, it is the council’s resolution,” Chapondera said.
The block leaders have challenged the resolution, saying only a court can take them out of their positions.
“Stepping down is impossible because people at the grass roots have not been consulted prior to this exercise. This is a clear violation of principles of good governance,” said Alex Kelvin Chapondera, chairperson of Lilongwe block leaders.
The chairperson added that the move is meant to deter development in the city, especially given that, other cities are not conducting similar elections.
“This is a non-starter. If these elections are being orchestrated by Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, why other cities such as Blantyre, Mzuzu, Zomba and other five town councils not implementing these changes,” he wondered.
The chairperson was appointed his capacity as senior block leader for Area 44-State House Ward. n