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MPs fear competition from mayors, council chairpersons – McDonald

FORMER Chingola mayor McDonald Mulongoti says the current electoral system of Zambians directly electing mayors and council chairpersons is good. Mulongoti served as Chingola mayor from to 2010 to 2011.

He is now an ordinary member of the PF.

Mulongoti feels electing mayors and council chairpersons through a popular vote was a good system which had brought about dignity and sanity to those offices, “even though mayors and council chairpersons are still figureheads as such.”

“The new electoral system needs to be maintained. It may be costly for aspiring candidates to campaign throughout the district during elections, especially independent candidates, but the advantages outweigh disadvantages,” Mulongoti stated in a press statement.

The National Dialogue Forum (NDF) resolved that mayors and council chairpersons be elected by councillors from among themselves.

But Mulongoti argues that as opposed to the old system where mayors and council chairpersons were elected annually by councillors, current mayors and council chairpersons appear to be more answerable to the electorates.

“[That is] in the entire district than to councillors alone, some of whom used to unnecessarily and on flimsy allegations threaten mayors and council chairpersons with impeachment,” he stated.

“Simply put, elections under the old system were holistically compromised and also more expensive to conduct than the new system is.”

Mulongoti suggested that Zambians ought to make progress on the issue of electing mayors and council chairpersons, “once and for all.”

“It appears some members of parliament are unsettled by the fact that mayors and council chairpersons who are employed on full-time basis with councils may pose serious competition against them in future elections. But we must not be too personal because political leadership is totally transitional,” stated Mulongoti.

“In the same vein, I would like to implore the Minister of Local Government and Housing Hon Vincent Mwale to consider improving conditions of service for deputy mayors as well as councillors so that they correlate with their important roles.”

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