Beyond Simple Honours

The race to grab a seat in the Regional Council is on. As one would have expected, the political machine has been put on motion. On 06 December this year as per the Presidential decree of 07 September, Municipal Councillors and traditional rulers in all the divisions of the country will head for the polls to select Regional Councillors. The election which will be the first of its kind since Regional Councils were enshrined in the constitution is being organized within the context of the Decentralisation process.  The process was initiated at the behest of popular opinion and increasing pressure from the population to partake in the management of their affairs. The majority of the people could not continue to swallow decisions on projects initiated from the central administration, some of which did not respond to the aspirations of the local population. Now that their cry has been heard, what next, is the question on many minds? This question so to say has its place especially as it’s a new institution that is being set up; and it’s coming to play a role many think was already being played by municipal councilors. 
It is for this reason that some people are tempted to think that care must be taken to avoid a clash of functions between Regional and Municipal Councillors. Whatever the fears might be, the functions of the former are already well spelt out in the law dismissing all prejudices already surrounding their functions. In effect, many are those who see their function as honourary and having little or no effect on the local administrative machine. Power as the saying goes, is how it is used and not necessarily how it is obtained. If the Regional Councillors to be, were to put to practice what is stated in the text regulating their activities, each region will be seen being managed by a Regional Council headed by a President who will be the Representative of the Head of State in the region. The powers of the Regional Council will hinge on its administrative and financial autonomy in the management of the region’s affairs.  They will have as duty to promote economic, social, sanitary, educational, and cultural development of the region among others.
As the polling day approaches, it will surely be the responsibility of all electors to ensure that those to be selected are people of regional integrity. They should be people that have an intrinsic feeling for the local population; people who are capable of delivering the goods and people who are ready to fight against all distractive measure that can derail any project aimed at improving the life of the local population. In the same vein, candidates gunning for such positions must understand the burden they are going to carry. It is going to be fortunate and unfortunate at the same time for them especially as it’s a new arm of administration where the people will expect so much from them.  The regional councilor is going to be someone that must identify and conceive projects that reflect the aspiration of the population. It is not going to be a ceremonial position where they will be reserved strategic sitting positions in official ceremonies. In fact, the seat they would occupy in such ceremonies must reflect the effort they are putting to boost the development of their regions. That in the real sense of the word, is what will be expected from the Regional Councillors.



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