Editorial

Service Delivery

IT is a shame that there could be some councils that are deliberately under-performing simply because they do not agree with the political party – Patriotic Front – in power.
This defeats the whole purpose of decentraliaation – that of taking power to the grassroots and ensuring that development starts from the ground.
The Patriotic Front has prided itself that it would take development to all areas and it is clear that those not prepared to do so should be flushed out of all government institutions.
One would believe that when people seek political elective office, be it at local or national level, they are driven by a passion to serve their community.
And in a multi-party system as Zambia’s, partisan interests are supposed to take a back seat. The understanding being that after elections, what follows is to carryout the campaign promises.
But it is a shame that this is not the case in some councils in the North-Western Province.
Ministry of Local Government Permanent Secretary, Ed Chomba has reported that Government has discovered how some local authorities in perceived opposition strongholds are deliberately under-performing because of partisan interests.
Bishop Chomba, who is in North-Western Province to check on the operations of local authorities, said he was privy to information of poor service delivery as a result of political infiltration.
He made the disclosure during a meeting with Chavuma Town Council management which is controlled by the United Party for National Development (UPND).
This really makes a mockery of the government’s drive to ensure that development programmes are implemented in all corners of the country.
If anything, Government must not allow such councillors or officers to derail its development agenda.
We believe now is not the time that elected officials should be politicking. It actually might in the end work against them.
Even if they are in the opposition, is this not an ideal chance for them to show the people what they can do given the resources that the central government avails to them?
Government must indeed take the bull by the horns and remove those who are bottlenecks, expecially the administrative staff who are government employees.
The hallmark of the civil service is that it works with which ever political party is in power. Partisan whims are supposed to be kept in check.
But if indeed there are such workers in the councils, then Bishop Chomba has every right and power to see that they are fired. Are council workers not supposed to be subjected to a performance-based grading system?
We are equally disappointed, as Bishop Chomba observed, that some projects under the Local Government Equalisation
Fund were poorly done also because of corruption and partisan politics.
Workers at Chavuma Town Council should in fact count themselves lucky that Bishop Chomba has infact advised them on the need to change.
Bishop Chomba noted that the council was engulfed in a political turbulence between the opposition and Government.
“This will not work here, these councils they don’t belong to any political party or to anybody but the people of Zambia,” he said.
Bishop Chomba said council workers were expected to be non-partisan and serve all people whole heartedly without involving politics in the execution of duty.
Public servants have a good example in President Edgar Lungu who has always stressed that his job is to serve not only those who voted form him but even those who did not.
That is what servant leadership entails. People do not wear tags on their foreheads when they want to access service from a public facility. They are entitled to be served by virtue of being Zambians.
For the councils in North-Western Province and indeed other areas, they must discard partisan politics and serve the people diligently. That is what will save their positions and jobs.

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