CENTRAL Province deputy permanent Secretary Patrick Mwanawasa has directed Kapiri Mposhi Town Council to utilise decentralised district sub-structures and the Ward Development Committees (WDC) when deciding on development projects to undertake in the district.
Mwanawasa urged the council to desist from imposing projects on local communities but engage the WDCs and other legal community structures in order to enhance the actualisation of the decentralisation policy in the area.
His directive comes in the wake of reports that the council had rejected and replaced all proposed projects from WDCs for funding through the 2018 Constituency Development Funds (CDF).
Mwanawasa, who is the chairperson of the Central Province Devolution Task Force, issued the directive when his team monitored progress on the implementation of the decentralisation policy in Kapiri Mposhi district.
He urged the council to allow local communities, through the WDCs, to propose projects for them to exercise control over their local affairs in fostering development as mandated by the by the national decentralisation policy.
“The WDCs are legal platforms for people’s participation in the development process and the decentralisation policy demands that these structures are involved and consulted before we undertake any development because development ideas should come from them,” Mwanawasa said.
Meanwhile, Mwanawasa has expressed dissatisfaction at the pace at which the decentralisation process is being implemented in Kapiri Mposhi district.
He observed that devolution of authority, functions and responsibilities to lower levels of governance was sluggish in the area despite government developing a clear roadmap and working policy.
Mwanawasa has since called for accelerated implementation of decentralisation through Cabinet Circular Number 10 and the Constitution of Zambia that effect the devolution of selected functions from the central government to councils and district substructures.
“The constitution and cabinet circulars have strengthened the decentralisation by devolution and provided a clear roadmap for the attainment of a decentralised governance system and so we should not be seen to fail to actualise decentralisation,” Mwanawasa said.
He called on the District Devolution Task Force to commence regular campaigns aimed at informing stakeholders on decentralisation for increased community participation and improved service delivery.
And deputy council secretary, Elizabeth Manda said all ministries in the district assigned to devolve from central government to the council have already done so but without matching resources.
She stated that the council has instituted Ward Development Committees (WDC) in all the 16 wards in the district to facilitate the participation of people at grassroots level in the decentralisation process.
“Even if the policy demands for the realignment of functions and linkages of central, district and sub district governance structures with matching resources the reality on the ground is different because we still have a dual budgeting and reporting process for devolved ministries,” said Manda.