The supervision of local government in Zambia: An imbalance between supervisory powers and local autonomy?
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Since gaining independence in 1964, Zambia has embarked on a number of reforms, including legislative, aimed at improving the effectiveness of its decentralised system of government. Local government received constitutional recognition in 1996. In 2002, the national government adopted the National Decentralisation Policy (NDP) which was reviewed in 2013. The NDP established Ward Development Committees (WDCs) as the lowest tier of government. It also defined the roles and responsibilities of local authorities, provinces, and national government. The NDP aimed to address, among other things, the problem of poor service delivery in Zambia that was partially attributed to a high concentration of power at the centre. Despite these various legislative and policy reforms, service delivery remained largely poor in many parts of Zambia. Local government still failed to supply potable water, maintain roads, provide proper sanitation and collect refuse on time, among other service delivery failures.