The Constitution provided for the establishment of highly autonomous councils constituted through democratic means. However, the Local Government Act was tampered with to provide for executive control of the councils prior to elections. Section 9A introduced a provision requiring the dissolution of a council three months prior to an election and appointment of a management team to exercise the powers and functions of a council.

This is not only alien to democratic norms. It simply undermines the autonomy of councils. As the country undertakes local government reforms the instrument needs to be scrutinized and subjected to wide ranging legal reforms. One of the principal reforms that should have been undertaken is regional government reform.

Now that the councillorship and mayoral elections are behind us the convening of the first meetings of the area, municipal and city councils by the respective Governors and Chief Executive Officers are overdue. Every day spent under the dictate of management team would signify an affront to democracy and legality.

Hence authorities that are dictated by section 28 of the Local Government Act to convene the first council meetings should carry out their duty without delay. The readers should know that under section 30 of the Local Government Act they have a right to attend council meetings.

We hope that this time around the councillors and the public will exercise scrutiny to ensure transparency and accountability in the performance of council duties.

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