Malawi’s Ministry of Local Government Announces Urgent Reconstitution of Village and Area Development Committees

The Ministry of Local Government, Unity, and Culture has issued a directive to all District Councils across Malawi to immediately reconstitute all Village Development Committees (VDCs) and Area Development Committees (ADCs). The move comes in response to a series of concerns and complaints related to the conduct and performance of some committee members.

The Ministry acknowledges that VDCs and ADCs were originally constituted in 2019 following general elections, as stipulated by the Guidebook on the Local Government System in Malawi. The expected timeline for reconstitution would have been in 2024 or earlier, subject to government directives. However, due to a growing number of grievances and queries from various regions of the country, the Ministry has taken the decision to expedite the reconstitution process.

The primary cause for concern revolves around reports of mismanagement of committee functions, responsibilities, and instances of corruption within these local development bodies. Allegations of favoritism in the selection of beneficiaries for government programs have also surfaced, prompting the Ministry to intervene and address these challenges head-on.

In response, the Ministry is calling for a complete overhaul of the VDCs and ADCs, with a renewed emphasis on integrity, impartiality, and commitment to public service. The Ministry’s directive explicitly mandates that members selected for these committees must be individuals who are dedicated to serving the people of Malawi without bias towards tribe, relationship, religion, regional background, or political affiliation.

Addressing the District Commissioners and Chiefs responsible for overseeing this reconstitution, James M. K. Chiusiwa, the Secretary for Local Government, Unity, and Culture, has urged immediate action. He emphasized the urgency of the matter and the need to ensure that the new committees are comprised of individuals who can effectively and equitably serve the interests of all citizens.

The reconstitution of the Village Development Committees and Area Development Committees is expected to be a thorough and meticulous process, with careful consideration given to the selection of committee members who align with the Ministry’s criteria of integrity and impartiality. The goal is to restore the confidence of the Malawian public in these vital local bodies and to ensure transparent and effective governance at the grassroots level.

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