Local Government Administration and Service Delivery in the Third Republic : A Case Study of Lusaka City Council, Choma Municipal Council and Luwingu District Council

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Lolojih, Peter Kaumba
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The thesis examined the performance of local Councils, with regard to administration and service delivery, during the Third Republic (1991-2001). The study is based on a Case Study of Lusaka City Council, Choma Municipal Council and Luwingu District Council. The focus of the study was not so much as on comparing the three Councils with regard to their ability to deliver services. The selected Councils simply represent their respective categories in the hierarchy of local government structure namely City, Municipal and District. The study utilised structured and semi-structured research instruments to collect primary data from respondents which were randomly and purposively selected. Secondary data was collected through desk research. Quantitative data was analysed using computer soft ware, the Statistical Package of the Social Sciences (SPSS). The narrative approach was adopted for the analysis and discussion of qualitative data. The Central argument of the thesis is that, "a central government predisposed to centralising tendencies cannot create an enabling environment for efficient and effective service delivery by local Councils. The study design aimed at capturing as many thematic areas as possible with a view to providing a 'broad' understanding of how the local authorities have performed during the period under review. The thesis has shown that the performance of the local authorities with regard to the delivery of public services, during the period under review, has been poor and raised a lot of concern among residents. Constraints characterising the operations of the Councils include inadequate financing, poor policies and pronouncements, the lack of adequate equipment and qualified staff, bloated workforce, lack of initiative and poor work habits among staff, inadequate supervision of subordinates, mismanagement of the scarce resources, ineffective community representation by Councillors, and the lack of public scrutiny. The study has noted that in spite of some capacity among the business community (Choma and Lusaka) the local authorities have not utilised contracting-out as an alternative method of service delivery. Although NGOs have demonstrated some capacity to deliver services, these institutions have not been co-opted into the work of the local authorities. Similarly, the role of traditional authorities in public service delivery has largely been that of mobilisation of communities to undertake developmental activities on voluntary basis and/or ensure the desired community response to externally funded projects. Overall, the study has found that although there are other factors that have contributed to the poor performance of the local authorities, government's tendency to centralise decision-making on critical matters of local authority operations, is the major constraining factor. This centralising tendency has created local authorities whose operations are highly dependent on the centre at the expense of local initiative. In effect, therefore, inadequacies of the centre have translated into the poor performance of the dependent local authorities.
Local Government Administration , Service Delivery in the Third Republic , Lusaka City Council , Choma Municipal Council , Luwingu District Council