The democratic dispensation which is the bedrock of the peace and tranquility we have enjoyed as a nation for over fifty years, was enhance by the adoption of a new people-driven Republican Constitution which received Presidential Assent on 5th January 2016. The year under review, therefore, marked the climax of a long, consultative and unique constitution making process which brought the nation together.

The rest of the year was dedicated to giving practical expression to the provisions of the new Constitution and one significant activity was the holding of Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Government elections which took place during the month of August 2016. It is through this electoral process which led to our election as Mayors, Council Chairpersons and Ward Councillors at local government level. It took another two months before the executive of the Local Government Association of Zambia could be put in place. Consequently, I was privileged to be elected as President of the Association during the elections which took place on 4th October 2016, in Ndola. I therefore wish, through this column, to sincerely thank the entire membership of the Association for trying my abilities to lead this celebrated and respectable organisation which has been in existence since 1947. My colleagues in the executive and I, will not betray the confidence and trust reposed in us. We shall strive to provide effective and resonant leadership so that together, we are able to engage our stakeholders and achieve the objectives of the Association.

Granted the new executive assumed office in October 2016, my predecessor, Councillor Samuel Munthali and his team stayed a little longer to carry on with the activities of the Association during the earlier part of the year under review. No doubt, Councillor Munthali and members of his executive worked tirelessly to deliver a measure of tangible results for the Association supported by a small but dedicated, hardworking and passionate secretariat. I wish to pay tribute to them. Building on their legacy, the new executive had dedicated considerable effort during their short time in office to leverage resources necessary to enable our member councils effectively deliver on their mandates as well as to address the plight of our hardworking Mayors, Council Chairpersons and Ward Councillors to enable them claim their right and deserved position in the hierarchy of the national leadership structure.

Gratitude is extended to various organisations that supported some of LGAZ’s activities during the period under review and these included GIZ, NAC, UNAIDS, UNDP, Business Connections, Mei Mei, Airtel and Global Industries. The Association would also like to thank the membership for their continued support and commitment.

Going forward, we need to consolidate the unity of purpose that has enabled us to stick together as one non-partisan family under the banner of the Local Government Association of Zambia. I am certain that we will achieve much more in our concerted effort to lobby and advocate for a strengthened system of local government and transform it into a much more effective sphere of government responsible for the delivery of quality basic and infrastructure services, so essential to our communities.