By Burnett Munthali
A town hall is a building used for the administration of local government, the holding of court sessions, public meetings, entertainments, etc.; (in early use also) a large hall used for such purposes within a larger building or set of buildings.
The Council is mandated to provide a wide range of municipal services to its residents and mobilize resources for service delivery and make bylaws.
Malawi Local government is enshrined in Chapter XIV of the constitution and responsibility for its administration rests with the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development. The local government system has 35 single-tier authorities: 28 district councils, four city councils, two municipal councils, and one town council.
However, councils are facing massive increases in costs due to spiraling inflation and the increase in energy costs, the Local Government Associations (LGA) are warning today.
According to my observation, Lilongwe city council is a huge disappointment because it is not functioning to the expectations of the City dwellers. The council is failing to take care of its facilities under its charge which could be beneficial to the people in one way or another.
The Lilongwe Town Hall awkwardly and embarrassingly stands in the middle of the Capital City. The citizens of Malawi should benefit from the facility through entertainment and wedding ceremonies but that’s not the case presently.
Maintenance of the town hall is a challenge, Lilongwe City Council is miserably failing even just painting and fixing broken doors and glasses for its structure. I don’t even understand that Lilongwe City Council can exercise the legislative powers of city government, including adopting the annual City budget, ordinances, and resolutions; setting appropriate tax levies; establishing sewer and water rates; setting other general tax and service rates; Mayoral veto override authority, and setting the Council agenda. At the end of the day, they have nothing good to show.
Firstly, Lilongwe needs a well-maintained town hall than what we have currently because it looks like a building for a different purpose. It looks abandoned! At least Lilongwe City Council can afford to buy glass panes, doors, and paint and renovate it.
Secondly, Lilongwe City Council should consider renting out the facility to an individual businessman or organization for a given period of years, say five years, who can maintain it and do business of similar nature – hall business.
Thirdly, Lilongwe City Council should reevaluate its situation. Failure is a great opportunity to reevaluate your situation. LCCs should be asking themselves why they failed, how they feel about it, and what they should do next. If your company drastically underperforms, then it is a great opportunity to look within and ask why that happened.
Lastly, failure can lead to success in business. Failure often allows you to examine what worked or what didn’t even more so than success. It can foster your critical and analytical thinking skills, allowing you to innovate, redirect and try another way to execute something the next time. Lilongwe City Council should think of new ways of handling town halls.
The purpose of Lilongwe town hall meetings is for local and regional officials to hear the community’s views on public issues.
We need City Council employees who can think, see, plan, and do things quickly and professionally because they are employed to improve the face of our Capital City and they get paid to do the job. There is no reason they should continue getting paid if they cannot work.
Lastly, besides being an opportunity to update staff on internal matters, Town Halls are also utilized by politicians, government bodies, corporations, and others to meet with the general public, community interest groups, local businesses, and other stakeholders to discuss new initiatives, policies, and projects. These are places that can contribute to taking democracy and communication forward.
A city without Town Halls stops the general public and community interest groups from coming together.
The provision of such social amenities by the government is cheaper than other places which offer the same services but are private.