Elected Ward Councilors as Advocates of Community Participation in Development under the Decentralization Reforms in Malawi: A Literature Review

Janet Olive Machinjiri, Jian Xiaoying, Justin Alinafe Mangulama


This paper assesses the effects of ward councilors in Malawi in as far as promotion of participation of local people in development decision making in the communities is concerned. The paper argues that participation of the local people in local government machinery is very critical if development initiatives are to be sustainable.   It has been established that participation of local people negatively get affected when the Councils are dissolved and no follow up elections are held.  In the absence of Ward Councilors, it has been highlighted that the Councils do not function accordingly and people do not excise their political right to participation as enshrined in the Malawi’s Constitution.  This resulted into paralysis of many areas of operation.  However, things turn round when Ward Councilors were brought back into the local government system.  The paper established that the presence of Ward Councilors promotes political participation of people in decision making and at the same time improves the delivery of services in the communities.  In order to make community participation meaningful and successful, the paper emphasizes on the importance of having Ward Councilors in place and making sure that there is well designed, constructive, legally and systematic binding program to follow.  Community participation bears fruits if the availability of clear goals and rules that govern the interactions and processes in the exercise of participation are put in place.

Keywords: Ward Councilors, community participation, decentralization, Malawi

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ISSN (Paper)2224-607X ISSN (Online)2225-0565

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