The High Court of Malawi has granted the Malawi Local Government Association (Malga) an order stopping the Ministry of Local Government from redeploying some district commissioners (DCs) and council chief executive officers.
The court’s intervention follows an application by Malga for a judicial review of the process and a subsequent order stopping the transfers in the interim.
Reads part of the court order: “An order of interlocutory injunction/stay restraining the defendants either by themselves, or their servants, agents or howsoever otherwise enforcing the decision purporting to redeploy district commissioners communicated through letters dated September 15 2022 until hearing and determination of the application for judicial review.”
The court said a formal application of the matter should be made within seven days from September 29 2022 to be followed by an oral submission on a date the court will set.
The court has granted the application in favour of Malga against Attorney General Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda, who is the first defendant, the Office of the President and Cabinet which is the second defendant and Ministry of Local Government is the third defendant.
Efforts to speak to Chakaka Nyirenda and Secretary to the President and Cabinet (SPC) Colleen Zamba yesterday proved futile as they were both out of reach.
On Monday this week, Malga president Davie Maunde accused the central government of making unilateral decisions by sidelining both the councils and the association as regards to effecting such transfers.
Speaking at a press briefing in Blantyre, he said the association planned to take to court the SPC if the transfers were not reversed.
Malga argues that the redeployment of about 10 DCs and two chief executive officers to central government is unlawful and unprocedural.
Section 11 (4) of the Local Government Act provides that the Minister of Local Government may transfer a district commissioner and or chief executive officer from one council to another in consultation with the Local Government Services Commission.
The affected DCs are from Chikwawa, Nsanje, Blantyre, Neno, Mwanza, Mangochi, Dedza, Ntchisi, Nkhata Bay and Karonga district councils while the chief executive officers are for Kasungu and Luchenza municipal councils.