Luanshya Municipal Council has embarked on a series of activities as part of the Local Government Week with a view of promoting public participation in local governance.
Luanshya Municipal Council Public Relations Manager, Gideon Thole, said the introduction of the Local Government Week follows government’s approval of the long awaited national Decentralization Policy which empowers local authorities to manage their own affairs.
He told ZANIS in Luanshya today that the new Decentralization Policy promotes people’s participation in development, democratic governance and local natural resources management.
He noted that Luanshya Municipal Council was aware that the central government has continued providing leadership and direction aimed at spearheading the implementation of devolution of power and implementation of the decentralisation process.
Mr Thole said the introduction of the Local Government Week, whose theme this year is, “Taking Local Government to the Community” is aimed at seeing as many individuals and stakeholders as possible sensitized about the duties and responsibilities of local authorities apart from stimulating public interest and participation in the decentralization process to accrue more benefits to the nation.
He explained that the Luanshya Municipal Council is hosting an exhibition on various services being offered by the municipality and a road show among other activities as part of the Local Government Week which will culminate into the commemoration of the Decentralization Day on August 10.
He added that the council was showcasing its service delivery mandate and how the provision of services could be improved and sustained using support from residents.
Mr Thole has since appealed to Luanshya residents to use the week long exhibition being held at the civic centre to get information on the local authority operations and offer advice on various council related issues.
“We are urging residents and other stakeholders to develop keen interest in the Local Government Week because they are key players in the local government sector which is the engine for delivering public infrastructure and services, local economic development and citizens’ participation,” he said.
He further stated that Luanshya Municipal Council believes that decentralization is the only surest way to put to rest the problems being faced by the local authorities.
“As a council we are optimistic that decentralization will improve efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of public services because resources will be transferred to the councils from the central government through either grants or share of resources,” Mr Thole noted.
He added that decentralization was the only vehicle which could be used to effectively empower the local people to participate in developmental activities using avenues such as the formation of Ward Development Committees (WDCs) which have replaced the disbanded Resident Development Committees (RDCs).
He observed that if well implemented the decentralization process could also promote transparency and downward accountability of the local government to local communities.