THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT SYSTEM AND FUNCTIONS
The law relating to Local Authorities in Zambia is contained in the Republican Constitution Article 109(1). The detailed law on Local Government is contained in the Local Government Act, Cap 281 of the Laws of Zambia. It provides for the establishment of Councils, their constitution, proceedings, Committees, Finance, functions, manner of regulation and by-laws, and appointment of Local Government Administrators. Under the Act, the Minister of Local Government may establish a City, Municipal, District, Township Council, or Management Board. There are 4 City Councils, 14 Municipal Councils and 54 Local Authorities (Districts) today in Zambia.
The formal mandates of Local Authorities are derived from the Local Government Act No. 281 of the Laws of Zambia and the various statutes. Section 61 of the Local Government Act list 63 functions of Local Authorities whose details are given in the second schedule of the Act. Furthermore, additional functions of Local Authorities are promulgated in Cabinet Office Circulars such as No. 1 of 1995 and No. 10 of 2002. The following are the overall functions of Local Authorities:
• Maintain law and order and effective administration of Local Authorities to ensure national security;
• Control the keeping and movement of livestock, slaughtering of animals, sale of meat and enforce the disposal of diseased animals carcasses or meat which is unfit for human consumption;
• Take measures for storage, market and preservation of agricultural produce and prevention of agricultural produce, conservation of natural resources and prevention of soil erosion;
• Control the manufacture, storage, sale and use of petroleum, fireworks gas and other combustible or dangerous substance;
• Provide and maintain supplies of clean water and establish water works and water mains;
• Construct and maintain public roads, streets, sanitary lanes, bridges and water courses and remove all obstacles thereof;
• Establish and maintain sanitation and drainage systems to facilitate the removal of refuse and effluent;
• Provide for the registration of births, marriage, deaths, clubs and enumeration of persons or property connected with the administration of Council areas;
• Establish and maintain colleges, schools and day nurseries;
• Prepare and administer schemes for community participation in development;
• Establish and maintain a system of street lighting and in public places;
• Establish and maintain fire fighting and prevention services in order to protect life, property and natural resources from damage by fire;
• Control persons and premises engaged in manufacturing, preparations, storage handling, sale or distribution of food or drink including intoxicating substances;
• Prohibit and control the use of land and erection of buildings in the interest of public health, safely and orderly development of the Council area;
• Demolish or remove buildings which are a danger to public health or safety and do not conform to plans and specifications approved by the Councils;
• Establish and maintain public amenities such as parks, zoos, gardens, pleasure grounds, camping grounds, caravan sites and an open spaces;
• Establish and maintain hospitals, clinics, health centres and environmental and health services; and
• Establish and maintain cemeteries, crematoria, and mortuaries and provide for the burial of the dead and destitute persons who die in the area of the Council.
DO THE COUNCILS AROUND THE COUNTRY, HAVE THE CAPABILITIES TO TAKE WHAT IS EXPECTED AFTER THE DEVOLUTION?
(i) Local Councils are already doing tremendous work in the provision of public services and enhancing social and economic development to the local communities in the respective district boundaries.
(ii) Levels of capabilities differ from one Council to another owing to different levels of development and status. The financial strength of the Lusaka City Council cannot be compared to that of a small district like say Kafue, or Chongwe.
(iii) Provision of services largely depends on the balance of Estimates of Income over expenditure, meaning that each Council can only spend as much as it earns in terms of service delivery.
(iv) The Decentralisation Policy assures that Local communities will be empowered by devolving decision making authority, functions and matching resources from the centre to the lowest level in order to improve efficient and effectiveness in the delivery of services.
HOW MUCH RESOURCES ARE ACCESSED BY LOCAL COUNCILS?
(i) This depends on sources of income for each Council, and the type.
(ii) Some smaller Council have a smaller annual budget of say K2.2 billion, which is far below a monthly salary wage bill for Lusaka City Council.
(iii) District Councils, in addition to their local resources, receive annual grants from the centre to fund capital projects. Bigger Councils (Cities) are encouraged to generate own income from local sources of income such as property rates.
HOW CREDIBLE ARE COUNCILS AS INSTITUTIONS OF PUBLIC SERVICE DELIVERY AND LOCAL DEMOCRATIC GOVERNANCE?
(i) The credibility of Councils stems from the fact that these are body corporate entities created by an Act of Parliament, legally established as Agents of the Central Government in the promotion of social, political and economic development to the lowest level.
(ii) Local Democratic Governance
Councils operate a representative local governance system to elect a Council that has powers to make policies at local level.
– Ensure bottom-up decision making
– Citizens are involved in decision making by electing their area representatives who petition for their needs in the local Council Chambers.
– Area based interest groups are involved in community development.
Any person, who is ordinarily resident in a given geographical area called Ward, is free to seek election to the office of Councillor to represent the electorates.
LUSAKA CITY COUNCIL
Lusaka was established as a settlement in 1913. The administration of Lusaka City Council is divided into two the first is a political wing headed by the Mayor while the administration part is led by the Town Clerk and eight directors representing eight departments namely: Department of Human Resource and Administration, Department of Legal Services, Department of Engineering Services, Department of City Planning, Department of Public Health, Department of Housing and Social Services, Department of Finance, and Department of Valuation and Real Estate Management. As a Local Authority, Lusaka City Council operates a representative type of Local Government, with elected local leaders (the Councillors) constituting the Council as community representatives.
The Council has thirty three (33) wards which are smaller geographical demarcations in the seven (7) larger constituencies that constitute the broader boundary jurisdiction of the greater Lusaka City. From each constituency, one political leader is elected by popular vote as a Member of Parliament representing the community in the National Assembly. Two (2) chiefs representatives also sit on the Council.
The character of the representative system of government derive from the understanding that local communities within the jurisdiction of the Council must themselves, through their representative on the Council, participate in decision making on matters that affect their livelihood.
This, thus enhances the principle of self-governance through citizens participation in the decision making process.
However, the roles and responsibilities for Councillors and Management are distinctive. The Councillors acting as a body make policy decisions on civic matters. The Management team and its operatives ensure that the decided policies are implemented for the general good of the citizens.
Through community development programmes under the Department of Housing and Social Services, the Council is committed to encouraging structures that harness people’s energies in service provision e.g. establishment of Ward Development Committee (WDC) and engaging of other Area Based Organisations involved in community development activities, waste management entities etc.
Other areas of Council engagement with stakeholders (citizens) are through Management of Markets in the city. The Lusaka City Council interacts with market traders through the established Market Advisory Committees.
The Market Advisory Committee (MAC) is a committee charged with the responsibility of administering and managing the affairs of a market on behalf of the Council. Some of the responsibilities of MAC include enforcement of Council by-laws, provision of security in a market, revenue collection, monitoring standards of hygiene and general cleanliness and allocation of market stalls.
DECISION MAKING PROCESS
Elected and Co-opted
Local Area Interest
6.0 PUBLIC SERVICE DELIVERY
The following are among other numerous services provided by the Council to the city’s citizens:
(a) Street lighting
(b) Waste management and sanitary administration
(c) Road construction, maintenance and drainage
(d) Funeral services through making land available for burials
(e) Processing title deeds and land records including facilitating other aspects of land management administration
(f) Providing recreation facilities and promotion of sports activities
(g) Registration of marriages, births and deaths including solemnising of marriages.
Public service delivery by the Council impacts on the citizens mainly in the following areas:
(a) Engineering Department
(i) Roads and Drainage
The Council is responsible for construction, maintenance and management of roads and drainage infrastructure in the City. This involves planning, designing, implementing, supervision and management of roads and drainage related projects. The Council also liaises on roads and drainage related projects with other stakeholders such as Central Government, Government Agencies (i.e. Road Development Agency (RDA), Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA), National Road Fund Agency (NFRA), National Council for Construction (NCC), Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) like Programme Urban Self Help (PUSH) and CARE and other cooperating partner (such as JICA, UNDP, GTZ).
The Council is responsible for provision of the following services to the general public:
– Installation of new street lighting and traffic lighting systems and maintenance of old ones
– Management of the Olympic Swimming Pool
– Preparation of tender documents for installation of additional traffic signals under the AWP 2008. The Council has installed traffic lights at several chosen road junctions in the city.
(iii) Fire Service
The fire brigade, which on the average attends to over 100 incidences per month, is responsible for the following:
– Provision of fire cover
– Provision of rescue services
– Ensuring building developments are carried out in accordance with Fire Regulations
– Provision of humanitarian services during emergencies and disasters such as supply of water.
(iv) Parks and Gardens
The Lusaka City Councils is also responsible for maintaining parks and other open spaces in terms of landscaping and also for propagation of various plants and flowers for planting in road reserves and road islands. The section controls the cutting of trees around the city.
(v) Architectural and Quantity Surveying
The Lusaka City Council provides engineering consultancy services for proposed Council projects in terms of drawings and cost estimates. At the moment the section deals only with Council projects.
(vi) Building maintenance and Construction
The Council through this section is responsible for maintenance and renovations of various Council buildings and other infrastructure.
(b) Public Health Department
(ii) Health Education
(iii) Pest Control
(v) Waste Management
(c) Housing and Social Services;
The Council’s mandate in terms of service delivery under the department is to provide social services such as:
The Council runs over twenty eight (28) markets in the city and soon shall start supervising the Management of the so-called cooperative markets which are in excess of forty (40).
(ii) Library Services
The Lusaka City Council provides public library services to the public in Chilenje, Matero and at the city library.
(iii) Community Development
Under this section the Lusaka City Council provides services or programmes aimed at creating and providing a conducive and enabling environment in which individuals, groups and communities are encouraged to participate for purposes of helping them improve their standards of living such as women clubs, adult literacy, community schools, youth skills training, sports and recreation, home economics, pre-school education.
In the area of community development, the Council provides women and youth education and development programmes biased to income generating ventures in order to empower them and reduce feminism of poverty, develop and provide training in leadership and life skills to the community in order to enhance their capacities to initiate and participate in development.
(iv) Peri-urban Development
The Lusaka City Council assists in establishing of the Ward Development Committee (WDC) which spearheads development issues of a ward, and also the Zone Development Committee (ZDC). Some of the general aims and functions of the ZDCs and WDCs are:
– To work in partnership with the Councillor in its area as well as with Council staff, Donors and NGOs to promote development and to mobilise residents participation.
– To initiate and coordinate activities for the improvement of the community
– To strengthen community capacities in the management of development
– To provide a channel for dialogue and resource mobilisation with the stakeholders
(v) Markets and Bus Stations
(vii) Community Development through training of the youth and women empowerment / capacity building activities
Generally the Council has always and continues to assist communities in identifying and analysing priority areas of development.
The Council has programmes that aim at encouraging self reliance in communal planning, implementation and management of community programmes and projects.
(d) City Planning
As a planning authority, the Council, through the Department of City Planning promotes economic and orderly use of land in order to achieve the development of a healthy, functional and aesthetically pleasing built environment suitable for attracting into the city a conducive atmosphere for enhancing the quality of life for those who live, work and visit the city of Lusaka.
The above objective is made possible through:
(i) Effectively taking care of physical planning matters in the city
(ii) Ensuring that planning permission is granted for all development activities in the city in accordance with the Town and Country Planning Act Cap 283 of the Laws of Zambia, and
(iii) Monitoring and compelling developers to undertake development as per approved development plans.
(e) Legal Services Department
The Council has been and continues to issue several documents relating to land tenure such as land record cards, occupancy licences and certificates of titles to genuine property owners. This mammoth task is performed in conjunction with other departments like City Planning and Finance Departments.
(i) Estate Management
The Council has been inviting and encouraging residents of Lusaka particularly those in peri-urban areas to come forward and renew their expired occupancy licences. Those who have no such documents are often equally advised to apply to Council for the same.
(ii) Trading Permits
Various trading licences are issued by the Council annually for those who conduct their various businesses in the city. It is illegal for one to trade or do business without a licence and such individuals are often, when found, penalised by having their businesses closed until they comply with the civic laws.
(iii) Lease Agreements
The Council also prepares and enter into lease agreements with private individuals who have entered into business partnership/relationship with the Council e.g. management of parks and open spaces, commercial properties on rental basis, etc.
(iv) Land Management
The Council also strive to reduce complaints relating to land disputes emanating from double allocations and or illegal allocation by unscrupulous people. Various measures have been introduced to try to scale down on the scourge.
(f) Human Resource and Administration
The Council’s statutory function in relation to the demography of the city’s inhabitants is to register the citizens in respect of:
The Council maintains a register of all marriages conducted in the city by marriage ministers appointed by the institution and duly gazetted.
(ii) Registration of Births and Deaths
The members of the public are encouraged to register births and deaths occurring in the jurisdiction of the city for record purpose.
(iii) Registration of Clubs, Societies, Associations, Traditional Healers
It is a statutory requirement that all such groupings conducting their activities in the city cause their existence known to the authorities (LCC) through formal registration.
(iv) Maintenance of Law and Order
It is the Council’s duty to ensure that civic laws are enforced in order to protect public property and maintain law and order in the city through the Council Police Unit. This is a cardinal service for the well being of the city.
Lusaka City Council is an agent of the Central Government in Land Administration in the City of Lusaka on behalf of the Commissioner of Lands at the Ministry of Lands. Also, Lusaka City Council is a Planning Authority in addition to the Lusaka Province Planning in addition to the Lusaka Province Planning Authority.
Ordinarily, Lusaka City Council would identify land and make a proposal for creation of Residential, Commercial and Institutional plots. This process may be done by the Council depending on the nature of the land, i.e. land falling under the Housing Statutory and improvement Areas and State Land.
Once the creation is done, the layout plan is sent to the Surveyor General’s office for numbering and later sent back to Council. The Council will advertise to the general public for them to apply for alienation of these pieces of land. Consequently, successful applicants are recommended to the Commissioner of Lands for offer letters. This procedure is also followed in areas which started as informal/squatter settlements except that the Council generates offer letters instead of recommending to the Commissioner.
The Lusaka City Council faces a lot of challenges in its execution of statutory functions, the most prominent ones being the following:
Illegal Land Allocation
The Council is an agent of the government authorised to handle land matters on behalf of the government; however due to te weakness of the of the individuals mostly party cadres have assumed the responsibility of giving out land in the city. These individuals have taken over the “planning” and “allocation” of Land illegally thereby distorting the development pattern of the entire City of Lusaka.
There appears to be a lacuna in the law where individuals who are not agents of the state are allocating land in the City indiscriminately. This distorts future plans and encourages more establishments of squatter settlements. This is a major challenge as the Council grapples with cases of illegal land invasions perpetuated by political hooligans especially in peri-urban areas. This has been the case in Kamwala South, Kanyama, Ngombe and Chinika, among other areas.
Lack of Land Spaces
Lusaka City Council has run out of land since the boundary of Lusaka District is too small. This has resulted into difficulties for the City to expand and meet modern City status like its neighbouring cities. For a long while now, it has even been very difficult for the Council to find free open land for use as burial site (cemetery) to replace the filled Leopards Hill, Chingwere and Chunga Cemeteries.
Politicisation of Public Places
Markets and Bus Stations are prone to politicisation which has made it difficult for the Council to effectively manage them. Political cadres have been interfering with the running of these public places to the effect that in markets such as Chibolya and Soweto the cadres have chased Council officers (cashiers) from collecting market fees. Sorting out this problem calls for political will of the powers that be.
Lack of Transport and Equipment
Despite the seemingly large fleet of motor vehicles available, as indicated in this report, the Council still needs more vehicles to be able to cope with the expanded work requirements. The Council needs more vehicles in all the inspectorate sections, road maintenance, revenue collection and other support units including procurement and police sections.
Some of the equipment lacking are graders, excavators, tipper trucks, rollers, water bowsers, front end loaders for road and drainage maintenance, inadequate equipment such as tower wagons for maintenance of street lighting and traffic signals, inadequate reliable equipment for effective fire fighting in the city, and generally lack of technological hardware and software facilities for effective planning, implementation, monitoring and management of projects.
Cash flow Problems
This has led to Council’s failure to meet all the demands for service delivery and effective and efficient operations.
Consequently, the Council has been struggling to raise resources for expansion and effective maintenance of the street lighting and traffic signals, including replacement of vandalized road infrastructure.
Only twenty five (25) junctions in the City have traffic signals out of fifty (50) that need the facility. An average of three (3) poles are damaged every other week.
As a result of the cash flow problem, the Council cannot embark on expansion programmes aimed at decentralizing public service facilities in the City, and to invest in economic ventures.
Non Compliance by Clubs and Societies to obtain Annual Operational Permits
For a long time now, the Council has endeavored to cause all social clubs, societies, associations and traditional healers conducting business in the City, to register with the local authority.
However, the response from the many advertisements posted by the Council inviting these entities to adhere to the said requirement by law has drawn blanks, or otherwise lukewarm.
The above is another example of lawlessness where individuals forming these groupings feel that they need not register their existence with the Local Authority.
The Lusaka City Council is desirous in providing quality public services to the community of Lusaka with the right frame of mind. In terms of planning and implementation of prudent decisions, the Council hoped to turn the many challenges addressed above into positive achievements. This is however, only possible if the Council built capacity in the Management system to enhance operations.
It is thus hoped that the Council will be able to implement the following plans, among many others:
(i) Build Ring Road System
This is planned in order to cab vehicular traffic congestion in the city and filter unnecessary traffic away from the city centre.
(ii) Decentralize Fire Stations
This city is fast expanding and cannot be covered effectively from the existing two (2) fire stations and so Council has plans to open up five (5) more sub-stations in areas of city not covered. The Council further hopes to acquire modern fire-fighting equipment possibly through Government intervention as the machinery are very expensive for the Council to procure on its own.
(iii) Comprehensive Urban Plan for the Greater Lusaka
The Council will continue being involved in the study on comprehensive Urban Development Plan for the City of Lusaka. The study is funded by the Japanese Government through JICA.
(iv) Renovation of Council Infrastructure
Community Halls, peri-urban suburb offices, Nakatindi Hall, Libraries, Homecraft training, and trade training facilities for the women and youth are all planned for renovation. This will go with the refurbishment of the same to make them habitable by Council staff, or use by Council clients, to enhance revenue.
(v) Procurement of Tools and Equipment
Tools and equipment in various use needs, e.g. library materials, building construction, road and drainage maintenance, office equipment etc are to be procured.
(vi) Integrated Management and Accounting Systems
The Lusaka City Council intends to ensure that it achieved both Management and Accounting integrated system of operation in order to enhance performance. This will include computerization of key operations, e.g. Human Resource packages, revenue centres etc to improve information processing and create linkages with all the departments via web, internet etc.
(vii) Resource Investment
Given increased income, the Council plans to invest excess revenue into income generating ventures in order to expand its revenue sources.
(viii) Improve Conditions of Service for Workers
Particularly, the Council will strive to improve remuneration packages for skilled professional staff in order to curb the current high rate of resignations of such qualified personnel. Training and retraining of staff in needy areas will be part of the corporate goal.
(ix) Increase of Transport Fleet
This is to improve the mobility of staff especially in inspectorate sections across Council.
(x) Improve Waste Management Unit Operations
This will include decentralizing public health services into six (6) zones, commercializing the pest control and cleansing service and opening of sinking fund for replacement of waste management equipment.
(xi) Funeral Services
The Council will diversify its service delivery by providing hearse services, and coffin-making at competitive rates.
The current Mayor is Councillor Mulenga Sata and deputised by Councillor Potipher P Tembo .
Lusaka City Council has had many mayors and town clerks. Below is the list of the past mayors and town clerks of the greater city of Lusaka.
Former Mayors Before Decentralization, Lusaka Municipal Council
Lusaka City Council