Despite the ongoing reforms to boost efficiency of councils, Nkhata Bay District Council is operating without nine key officers.
The massive understaffing put into question government’s promise to fill vacant positions in all district councils for improved service delivery.
Council chairperson Beauty Banda on Friday said the council has been operating without the key officers for over two years.
The vacant posts include those of the director of planning and development, director of administration, chief accountant and internal auditor.
“We have a big problem. Things are not ticking at the council because we don’t have people in those positions. The district commissioner is under pressure to deliver because he does not have the support,” she said at a meeting organised by Mzuzu Diocese’s Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP).
The diocese’s finance and administration director Father Tony Mfune urged government to urgently fill the vacancies crippling the council.
“Having people in acting positions compromises quality of services and the citizens are the main losers,” he said.
CCJP diocesan secretary Arnold Msimuko attributed the council’s inefficiencies to the high vacancy rate.
“There is an agreement which the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development [Kondwani Nakhumwa] signed on the reform agenda in which government promises to deploy adequate human resource in the district councils to devolve power.
“But Nkhata Bay is just a case study that central government is not serious with the agenda to devolve power. How can government expect the district to deliver quality services without nine officers?” he asked.
In an interview on Sunday, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development spokesperson Muhlabase Mughogho said the ministry is waiting for Treasury to allocate resources for the recruitment plan. n