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Alba Iulia
Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Minister has power to suspend Mayors, says law scholar

Headlines Minister has power to suspend Mayors, says law scholar

Minister of Local Government and Housing, Charles Banda, has statutory power to suspend Mayors and Council Chairpersons together with Councillors, says Governance and Legal Advisor, Isaac Mwanza.

Mr. Mwanza, who together with Lusaka Deputy Mayor Christopher Shakafuswa, had petitioned the Constitutional Court in 2018 stated that on pages 25 to 27 of the Judgment, the Court made it clear that Mayors and Council Chairpersons are also councillors.

He said Section 56 (b) of the Local Government Act No. 2 of 2019 to suspend expressly empowers the Minister to suspend “all councillors of the council from performing all of their functions as councillors and empower the Local Government Administrator to discharge all the functions of the council.”

In 2018, the Constitutional Court decided that chiefs who get elected to councils, ward based councillors and elected Mayors are all councillors regardless of the manner in which they are elected.

Minister of Local Government and Housing Charles Banda yesterday suspended all councillors from Lusaka City Council and Kitwe City Council from performing all of their functions to pave way for the National Government to conduct an administrative investigation into the affairs of the two Councils.

Responding to questions whether the suspension of councillors from performing their functions amount to violating Article 152(2) of the Constitution which prohibits the national Government from interfering with or compromising a local authority’s ability or right to perform its functions, Mr Mwanza said the Constitution makes it clear that in performance of their functions, councillors are accountable to the National Government.

Article 156 of the Constitutional states that councillors shall be collectively and individually accountable to the national Government and residents in their wards councillors and districts, for the performance of their functions.

“What the National Government, through the Minister, has done by suspending the performance of functions by all councillors, who include mayors of Kitwe and Lusaka is part of the accountability measures which the Constitution require of councillors to their national Government. It is not interference at all,” said Mr. Mwanza.

Mr. Mwanza has however called on the Ministry of Local Government to expedite the process of inquiring into the alleged land scams in Kitwe, Lusaka and other parts of the country and report back to residents in wards and districts as they are stakeholders in holding their councillors accountable.

Kitwe Mayor, Christopher Kang'ombe, seen driving out with files from office after Minister suspended Kitwe City Council to pave way for investigation.
Kitwe Mayor, Christopher Kang’ombe, seen driving out with files from office after Minister suspended Kitwe City Council to pave way for investigation.

20 COMMENTS

    • That is not exactly a suitable clarification. Worse,that then means the local government act is unconstitutional. An elected official can’t be removed in this manner. Let the ballot or a legal judgment remove him not a potential rival office. In this case the Chinese are ordering Banda to remove an elected official. This is not Hong Kong

  1. Everyone knows that Charles Banda is a Minster for the Chinks, even his questionable sudden wealth has its links from China…I also cant wait for these thieves like Mukula Thief Jean Kapata and Banda to investigated in 2021. If you were serious about land surely you would not have given yourselves forests around Lusaka….this is where leadership of Lazy Lungu comes into question as all this is happening on his watch and he is a passenger.

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  2. Kitwe Mayor, Christopher Kang’ombe what is he carrying in his vehicle…you can not take so many personal files to your work place

  3. Unbelievable how one person(a Minister) can wield so much power to suspend the whole elected councillors. This is absolute abuse of authority. What more if bill 10 goes through, these chaps will be untouchable

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  4. Nicely explained and easy to understand! Nomba ba Kang’ombe nabaseda all the files kkkkkkkkkkkk these are the youths that will run to NDC soon?

  5. The law is the law. Great work minister. When you don’t do anything people complain and when you do something the same f00ls complain like that one above called tarino. These diasporan are worse than a woman on her menstrual cycle. I shudder to imagine how their partners manage to deal with them

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  6. The Minister must not go to sleep now. Let them go and investigate how plots were given at the railway line crossing Malambo road, the one at Chunga Roundabout, the one at the cross junction of Impala Road going to Desai School. There is something wrong with Lusaka City Council. They don’t want to see empty spaces!

    • The same thing happening in Kitwe, they are converting roads to plots. These thieves must be punished for sure

  7. It’s not true. How can a mayor be suspended by a minister. An elected mayor for that matter. Lawyers chabe. Even things which don’t make sense he is trying to justify them. Which piece of legislation or clause in the constitution says a Mayor is a councillor?

  8. It’s like saying because the president sits in cabinet meetings with cabinet ministers then he is a minister. That’s why the case of ministers staying in office after parliament has dissolved does not include the president and his vice. Where have we thrown common sense mwe bantu?

  9. This is momentous. At last we can see some tough action to correct local authority abuse in Lusaka especially. Things are so bad and it’s historic abuse they need to save through.

    As for those files the kitwe mayor is ferrying away fro scrutiny, they need to ask why. I remember going to LCC in 2015/16 to find documents of my family, only to be shown to a room with a pile of files on the floor, the electricity light had fallen on top of it……like someone trying burn them. Zambia has been out of control for a long time. Well done Hon Banda for investigating corruption matters.

  10. subsidiary legislation can never override a constitutional provision.This is what is called supremacy of the constitution. Mr Mwanza you are a legal scholar , please this is a simple legal basic taught in first year of law school.

Comments are closed.

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