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With the change of political leadership in many constituencies and the coming of councilors in all wards, Malawi Economic Justice Network (MEJN) is urging newly elected officials from the May Tripartite elections to maintain Village Development Committees (VDCs) and Area Development Committees (ADCs) structures that are in their communities.

The call is being made in order to offset a rudimentary tradition where most elected officials interfere and do away with local development committees in order to set up structures run by their political Stewarts to propagate a political agenda.

Speaking to a number of VDCs and ADCs that work with MEJN in Ntheu, Regional Coordinator for the South Mike Banda says local development structures need to be left intact as they have their own office tenure.

Banda says the VDC and ADC tenure is provided for in the decentralization Act such that no other elected official has a legal mandate to bring a new committee.
Survival of development structures is always contentious as development projects are personalized and politicized.

Banda says lack sustainability of village development structures is what derails all development efforts in the country as there is no continuity. He attributed the problem to leadership challenges which started with the inception of multiparty where Bakili Muluzi diverted from the whole scope of government agenda that has led to many problems today.

In constituencies many development projects cease once a parliamentarian is kicked out. Though the people’s needs do not change another parliamentarian usually starts new projects even after communities had spent a lot on old ones.

In actual fact some parliamentarians have bounced back after a decade outside the national assembly with the sole aim of completing their unfinished projects. This will mean ignoring whatever was being initiated while they were out of office.

According to Banda this conundrum is what necessitates the independence of VDCs and ADCs as they are agents of development. Their agenda is promoting needs of the people and it is imperative that they be left to execute their jobs without interference.