Reinstate Lusaka, Kitwe councils and just withdraw the land agency – NDC

NDC vice spokesperson Chipoka Mulenga has called on the government to allow the suspended councils to perform other duties while it withdraws land agency.

Last week, local government minister Charles Banda announced the immediate suspension of the Lusaka and Kitwe city councils and their mayors for the next three months following alleged illegalities in land allocation.

But Mulenga says a district or city council has more responsibilities apart from being an agent of the Ministry of Lands in land allocation.

He noted that the councils have civic duties to perform, set and collect levies and enforce standards in social communities.

“Other than that, they have a duty to provide services like environmental sanitation, lighting, health facilities and recreational activities to communities,” Mulenga said.

He said it was wrong for a minister to suspend Lusaka and Kitwe city councils on the premise of illegal land allocations.

“It is a wrong decision taken from misconceived interventions. Land approvals are but just one of the many duties of councils,” he said.

Mulenga said if indeed there were illegalities in land allocation by the two city councils, the best the minister could do was withdraw the land agency from them and allow other duties to continue while they investigate and resolve the anomalies.

He noted that the suspension was not only harming the perceived councillors and mayors but all residents of the cities.

“Trading licences, building permits, social activities, etc., will be adversely affected as there will be no one to attend to the affected. Despite Lusaka mayor clarifying that a full council approved the allocation of land that involved an MP and a councillor, the minister still suspended the entire council operations; pure display of misguided leadership,” Mulenga said.

He said by law, when a full council sits and agrees on an agenda, it becomes legally binding.

Mulenga said what a full council sits and agrees on can only be repealed and corrected by the minister if it has lacunas while other duties are allowed to be performed.

“Therefore, as NDC, we advise the government to reinstate the councils and just withdraw the land agency from them. Councils are only land agents for the Ministry of Lands; let the ministry take up the duties while councils are allowed to function on other duties,” said Mulenga.

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