Government has said it is committed to ensuring that it consolidate and promotes the drive towards fight against corruption among Councils at all levels in the country.
Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Kondwani Nankhumwa said this Friday during the official commemoration of African Day of Decentralization and Local Development at Mtsiriza Primary School ground in Lilongwe.
He said his Ministry is working closely with key partner especially those directly related to the fight against corruption such Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB), Media, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and some Government Ministries and department.
Nankhumwa pointed out that the Ministry has collaborated with the Dan Church Aid (DCA), the Local Government Accountability and Performance project (LGAP) and other Supporting Partners to enhance their solidarity in the fight against the vice.
“What is of significance is that by allowing this main event to be held at this ground has demonstrated clear testimony to the desire to accommodate the interests of the local stakeholders by directly involving them in mobilizing local masses in the fight against corruption,” the Minister observed.
He noted that this year’s theme puts citizens, CSOs and the Media in the limelight in order to accelerate local governance and development through whistle blowing and taking action against corruption.
“Involvement of local people in the fight against the vice creates opportunities for responsive service delivery and effective local development processes.
It is important that citizens who represent the future of the African continent be able to participate in an inclusive, fair and equitable manner, in decision-making, monitoring and evaluation, and implementation of decisions relating to local governments,” Nankhumwa stated.
He added that Corruption is detrimental to local governments responsible for providing basic services to their populations.
Nankhumwa pointed out that corruption has disastrous effects on struggling economies and this need to be checked by Council when implementing various development projects.
He explained that the celebration of the day originates from the provisions of Article 20 of the African Charter of Values and Principles of Decentralization, Local Governance and Local Development adopted on June 27, 2014, which requested States Parties to commemorate the Day on August 10, of each year in order to promote the values and principles of the Charter on the basis of the African Unions general theme for that particular year.
Irish Ambassador to Malawi, Gerry Cunningham said local councils, an independent media especially community radios have huge role to play in ensuring communities are fully informed and could engage their councilors or officials through radio phone in shows.
He said engagement of all stakeholders at council levels promote issues of transparency and encourages collective decision making processes.
United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Malawi Mission Director, Lit Tazewell noted that government has reinvigorated the decentralization reform process as part of its overall Public Sector reforms.
He said local authorities are now empowered with more responsibilities and resources for the benefit of local communities,
“The country has witnessed the increase in national budgetary allocation from K 3 billion in 2005/2006 to K 45 billion in 2017/18 financial year. As of 2017, district councils are able to pay staff salaries for over 100,000 members in various positions across the country and District Commissioners are serving as controlling officers for their councils while elected councilors oversee the performance of the local councils,” Tazewell pointed out.
This is the fourth time the country is celebrating the Day in solidarity with other African Union (AU) Member States.
The Day began with a two kilometre solidarity walk to mark the day which was spiced with a poem by Nyamalikiti Nthiwatiwa, panel discussion, comedy by Chindime and Phungwako and music by Skefa Chimoto.