Zambia has several Government councils. These are statutory bodies through which the Government of the Republic of Zambia directs policy within different sectors. Government councils are established by Acts of Parliament.
The law relating to Local Authorities in Zambia is contained in the Republican Constitution Article 109(1). The detailed law on Local Government is contained in the Local Government Act, Cap 281 of the Laws of Zambia. It provides for the establishment of Councils, their constitution, proceedings, Committees, Finance, functions, manner of regulation and by-laws, and appointment of Local Government Administrators. Under the Act, the Minister of Local Government may establish a City, Municipal, District, Township Council, or Management Board. There are 4 City Councils, 14 Municipal Councils and 54 Local Authorities (Districts) today in Zambia.
About government councils
Government councils are responsible for a range of vital services for people and businesses in defined areas. Among them are well known functions such as social care, schools, housing and planning, waste collection, licensing, business support, registrar services, pest control, road maintenance and more.
Local councils, which is the most common type of local authority, are made up of mayors and councillors who are elected by the public in local elections. The councillors work with local people and partners, such as local businesses and other organisations, to agree and deliver on local priorities. The decisions are implemented by permanent council staff, council officers, who deliver services on a daily basis.
Funding for councils
Funding of local councils come from a range of sources, including government grants, council tax and fees and charges. Together, council tax and business rates make up local authorities’ largest source of income.
Roles of councils
Local councils play a central and indispensable role within the system of government and are recognised in the Zambian constitution as a distinct and independent tier of government. It is the level of government closest to the people and gives people a say in matters affecting their local area. Councils are governments – they provide a vehicle for the expression of local democracy.