PAC urges the media to effectively engage the society on LGA reforms

Lilongwe, Public Affairs Committee (PAC) has urged media practitioners to keep developing relevant, powerful messages and programs as an efficient way of engaging society on the Local Government Act (LGA) reforms.

Rev. Matilda Matabwa, Board Member for PAC, made the call Thursday in Mponela, Dowa district, during the Refresher Training Workshop for media practitioners on proposed LGA reforms.

She said PAC believes that implementation of LGA reforms will improve effectiveness of Local Authorities by aligning the Act with objectives of decentralization and devolution of powers that the country’s democratic constitution demands.

Matabwa said the enacted LGA will create a supportive environment for a more meaningful and effective political engagement of women, men and youth and it is vital for the success of Local Governance in Malawi’s democratization.

She said there is a need for Malawians themselves to own the process and make their wish known to their political representatives and law makers.

In democracy, power belongs to the people. Members of Parliament (MPs) and other elected political figures are only trustees whose political life should depend on the sustained trust of the electorate.

It is the people’s duty to hold their elected representatives accountable. Our people need to wake up and take up their responsibility more seriously. They need civic education between elections, Matabwa said.

Deputy Director of Local Government Services Douglas Mkweta said given that decentralization and implementation of local government systems commenced after the adoption policy in 1998, the efforts to give power to people are still nascent in history and far from becoming part of the organizational and democratic values of elected leaders.

He said Malawi has a strong guiding policy and legal framework which include national policy, a law on decentralization, the constitution and the democracy charter.

However rolling out the policy has been faced with numerous challenges, one of which is high levels of corruption fed by a culture of non-compliance and impunity, he said.

The first workshop on the same proposed LGA took place in November 2016 with an aim of equipping the media with information regarding proposed LGA reforms.

From 2012, PAC has been advocating for transformative leadership at national level.

Source: Malawi News Agency MANA