Open letter to Minister of Local Government and Housing

Dear Minister,

When government pronounced the introduction of the local government service commission and the repealing of the Local Government Act, it brought a ray of hope to professionals and officer serving in the local government service system.

It brought renewed hope and vigor because for a so long a time councils in Zambia have been blamed for failing to provide the much needed services at the district level, a fact that cannot be denied. Further, councils have been labeled as institutions that cannot attract well qualified personnel to fill its file and ranks because of failure to pay decent wages and on time. This again is a fact. Consequently, the introduction of the service commission signified a new era in local government where qualified personnel would be easily attracted.

Most council with the exception of city councils, some municipal councils and a few district council can boast of having qualified personnel. Most of the senior officers have risen to prestigious position without corresponding qualifications.

Further, in as much as there are other officers with higher qualifications, certain positions are a preserve of one qualification (LLGAZ) which is a fallacy because there is no institution world wide which is headed by a clique of the same qualification. This has resulted in a good number of qualified staff leaving councils to join the civil society and private sector.

It is an underlying belief that the position of the council secretary or town clerk can only be occupied with a person holding LLGAZ (this is a diploma course) not any other course. A number of degree holders and some with masters degrees have been denied the chance to drive councils to higher heights in terms of service delivery. History will tell us that most councils that have performed exceptionally well were not headed by LLGAZ holders but other professionals like engineers, planners, business managers and many other professionals. Zambia should not allow someone to play a game of professional monopoly in councils.

We are therefore appealing to you honorable minister to speed up the introduction of the commission so that professionalism can be brought to councils and service delivery can be enhanced. A number of vibrant and energetic engineers, planners, business and public administrator, lawyers and other professionals are eagerly waiting for the appointment of commissioners so that they can fully participate in the management of local government affairs. The onus is on you honorable Minister to move the country to higher heights by waking up the sleeping giant in councils, thus putting in key positions deserving dynamic and qualified men and women. Otherwise posterity may judge us harshly.

Concerned senior council employees

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