Stakeholders urged to prepare for decentralisation

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—-The Ministry of Local Government and Housing (MLGH) says people must brace themselves for the shocks that may come with decentralisation.

Director of the Decentralization Secretariat at the MLGH, Alfred Sakwiya, said the government would want to move to a stage where districts can function effectively as a way of fighting poverty.

Mr Sakwiya, however, said the process of decentralisation will see some re-alignments of both departments and the human resource and people are expected to brace themselves for these anticipated minor changes.

He said empowering of the people through a democratic devolution of functions and giving them the resources is crucial to tackling poverty.

He was speaking in Nchelenge District in Luapula Province today during the orientation workshop held at the council chamber for stakeholders on the revised national decentralisation policy.

Mr Sakwiya said, “Poverty has to do with the choices we make and we have allowed the people to be victims of poverty for the over 50 years of independence because we allowed the local authority systems to deteriorate”.

He urged the civic leaders and the heads of departments to support the government in its quest to realise the dream of a decentralised governance system that will ensure access to the much needed resources for development.

“We are looking at you to provide leadership in the fight against poverty and to do so we must develop the Ward Development Committees (WDC) because they are central to the philosophy of empowering the people,” he added.

He said the government must know and work with the people through the WDCs to fight the depredating effects of poverty and grow the economy.

“We are going to do ourselves and our posterity a great deal if we are going to implement the revised national decentralised policy,” he said.

He also said the PF government has demonstrated unprecedented levels of political will by realising the human resource gaps in the local authorities.

Mr Sakwiya further said the government has since embarked on the placements of the human resource in strategic positions and addressing the issues of salaries for the council workers countrywide.

He also observed that currently the departments are scattered and argued that this has made the decision making process very bureaucratic and cumbersome for a country in a hurry to develop.

And speaking at the same occasion, Nchelenge District Administrative Officer (DAO), Gift Hajongola, said the people of Zambia must seize the decentralisation process to better their lives.

Mr Hajongola said decentralisation entails the people’s participation in matters of development and decision making, and that this makes it easier to tackle the problems that they may be grappling with.

He said it was time for the people to tell the government what they want to do to improve their lives and not the other way round.