25 councils operating dangerously—Ministry

About 25 Local Government Councils risk being challenged in their day to day operations as they have not reviewed their by-laws to match with the current Local Government Act.

Officials from the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development made the revelation on Wednesday during a Malawi Local Government Association (Malga) peer review meeting for six councils implementing a governance pilot project.

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Deputy director of local government services, Douglas Mkweta, hinted that councils need to come up with new by-laws following the Act of 1998 but not more than 10 have done that.

He said among those that have not come up with by-laws are those implementing the governance pilot project.

Mkweta said the old by laws no longer have any effect as they are out of functionality. He said what that means is that Councils have no mandate to carry out various tasks that they do.

Among the tasks are collection of revenue, closing of shops and confiscation of items.

He called on the Councils to review their by-laws saying operating on old by laws is risky.

“The six councils that are sitting here have never made any efforts to make by laws.

“Therefore if we are to be very strict we can quickly say that the councils have no mandate to perform the various function that they are performing. You have no mandate to collect revenue. You have no mandate to regulate functions, you have no mandate to close shops, you have no mandate to regulate liquor,” said Mkweta.

Malga deputy president William Mkandawire said the issue of reviewing by laws need to be taken seriously.

He called on councils that have not reviewed their by laws to do so saying failure will affect the council’s operations.

“As Malga we are calling on councils that have not reviewed the by laws to update them. Our mandate to exercise duties lies in those bylaws,” said Mkandawire.

Malawi has a total 35 local councils.

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