Nkhata Bay residents have demanded the speedy scrapping of laws that restrict heads of local government council’s tenure to less than five years, saying they deserve ample time to settle.
The locals made the calls against the 2010 amendments of the Local Government Act during a public debate organised by the National Initiative for Civic Education (Nice) Trust last week Saturday.
They described as retrogressive and short-term, lawmakers rushing to pass the law which prescribes elections for city mayors every 30 months and annual polls for heads of district councils.
They feel it would be better if the tenure of heads of councils be extended to five years like that of the President and Speaker of Parliament, who are elected on the same day, as councillors.
One of the panelists, Youth Network and Counselling (Yoneco) district official, Danleck Pande, questioned the MPs for passing the amendment that also requires parliamentarians to vote in local government councils.
He said: “It is selfish of the lawmakers. Leadership is a process and it doesn’t happen overnight. The heads of councils deserve ample time to learn the ropes and take charge of their councils’ development agenda.”
The change of law came at the height of then President Bingu wa Mutharika’s resistance to hold Local Government Elections.
Nkhata Bay district commissioner Alex Mdooko said he prefers a five-year term for the sake of continuity and experience in implementing district development plans. n