The role of party politics in local participation and representation: challenges and prospects in Malawi's local assemblies

Kayuni, Happy Mickson (2005-12)

Thesis (MPA (School of Public Management and Planning))--University of Stellenbosch, 2005.


Soon after independence in 1964 the Malawi government made an attempt to decentralise some of its activities through the creation of district development committees. However, in practice local-level institutions were not fully operational as the one-party system of government (led by the Malawi Congress Party) tended to manipulate the autonomy and operations of these institutions. Accordingly, there was no manifestation of local participation and representation. The period of one-party rule in Malawi came to an end in 1994 with the introduction of multi-party democracy. The new government revitalised the idea of decentralised governance by passing the Local Government Act of 1998, which saw the establishment of local assemblies. Thus officially Malawi has a very supportive system in relation to citizen participation and representation through decentralised local institutions. However, in practice, there is no clear evidence that this is actually being realised. Consequently, this study was undertaken to examine the role of party politics on local participation and representation. The study was conducted in three district local assemblies of Malawi ...

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