THE launch of the decentralization policy by the Ministry of Local Government and Housing should be appreciated by all those institutions advocating rapid and inclusive development in the country, says Christians Against Poverty in Zambia president Gregory Chileshe.

He said any country that needed meaningful development must engage its citizens in the decision-making process for effective participation at local level.

Mr Chileshe said his organization was convinced that if this policy was implemented well the governance system at local level would improve.

“We hope local authorities will follow this policy as they undertake most of their development work at various local levels,” he said.

Mr Chileshe said local authorities should study the document for them to deliver to most communities in their respective districts because of their being the entry point of development.

“With the decentralization policy in place, we hope more organisations will partner with local authorities for more community participation in various developmental projects at local level,” he said.

Mr Chileshe said the involvement of communities in any developmental programme implemented would help in shaping the country.

“Decentralization is key when it comes to development, and people will be able to know more about development and be able to have information on various developmental projects in their areas,” he said.

Mr Chileshe appealed to the Ministry of Local Government and Housing to make the decentralization policy available to all local authorities in the country.

He said most of the policy documents were hard to find and this made it difficult for officials to follow most of the policies when it came to implementation.

Mr Chileshe said councils were critical to the development of any district and therefore needed to have councillors with the capacity to do professional work at local level.

He said the quality of councillors to be elected after August 11, 2016 election would show change in the operations of some councils in Zambia.

Mr Chileshe said all those aspiring councillors and members of Parliament must have the decentralization policy document to help them to understand what needed to be done for effective participation of communities in development.

In 2013, Government revised and re-launched the National Decentralisation Policy which was operationalised in 2014.

It seeks to devolve power from central government to local authorities in all districts across the country.

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