On October 18, 2015 this column ran a story which was basically lamenting about the roles of councillors and their elected mayors especially on their dismal performance especially on helping the cities and district councils keep clean and sanitary.
Even though the main focus was on stories that came out of Mzuzu City, especially on the incident in which Mzuzu City workers were working without any protective wear, thereby being exposed to sanitation and hygiene-related diseases, it seemed that the problem is common across all juridictions of councils.
To agree with the sentiments in that particular article, one ardent reader of this column has brought more revelations on the same.
COMMENTS ON MALAWI CITY MAYORS, COUNCILLORS A DISGRACE TO THE BONE
I would like to agree with you that the ushering in of councillors and mayors in city councils has not made any impact in as far as improvement of service delivery is concerned.
Most of the gaps that city councils had before councillors in the councils are still there or else they are now worse. There are sporadic street vending, indescriminate waste disposal, inadequate sanitation, poor or inadequate water and hygiene facilities in public places and markets. My observations are that these manifestations are also present in district councils where there are councillors and chairpersons. These councillors and chairpersons are there primarily to advance their political ambitions and financial gains instead of serving the people.
Hardly a day passes without reading or hearing of disagreements between councillors and council secreteriat. In most cases these disagreements are not about service provisions but about money.Examples bound of these disagreements in Karonga, Chikwawa, Nkhata Bay and Nkhotakota just to mention a few. In the process, councillors miss their core business of creating a conduicive environment for the enjoyment of health and environment.
In The Nation of 18th October 2015 in which there was an article headlined ‘Mzuzu residents petition Authur Peter Mutharika on night clubs’, I should say I also expressed shock. This issue was supposed to be handled by council staff (Health and Social Welfare Directorate) in collaboration with councils. Not to the presidency. There are a lot of ways through which this issue could have been settled within the council. If it is true that this issue was brought before Mzuzu City Council and there was no positive response, then the council is not serious in service provision. This is both the coucil secreteriat and the councillors. The Mzuzu residents could bring this issue to the attention of equally relevant authorities in the city such as the Police.
I wish to appreciate that where relevant authorities are not assisting on issues of concern, people look for alternatives. But not the president. I have read the same article that residents have brought up this issue to Mzuzu City Council but have not been assisted. This is not only in Mzuzu but in all councils in the country. Therefore, I should say that councillors, mayors/chairpersons and employees in councils are truly a disgrace to the bone. They need to work up from slumber.
Thyolo District Health Office,