Zambia 1991 Constitution (reviewed 2016)

Table of Contents


System of Local Government

Article 151. System of local government

  1. There is established a local government system where—
    1. functions, responsibilities and resources from the national Government and provincial administration are transferred to the local authorities in a co-ordinated manner;
    2. the people’s participation in democratic governance is promoted;
    3. co-operative governance with the national Government, provincial administration and local authorities is promoted to support and enhance the developmental role of local government;
    4. the capacity of local authorities to initiate, plan, manage and execute policies in respect of matters that affect the people within their respective districts is enhanced;
    5. social, spatial, financial and economic planning, at the district level, is developed, prioritised and promoted;
    6. a sound financial base is established for each local authority with reliable and predictable sources of revenue;
    7. the performance of persons employed by the national Government and provincial administration to provide services in the sub-structures is overseen by local authorities;
    8. the provision of Government services is monitored and projects are implemented in sub-structures;
    9. accountability of local authorities is ensured; and
    10. the right of local authorities to manage their affairs and to form partnerships, networks and associations to assist in the management of their respective districts and further their development is recognised.
  2. The local government system shall—
    1. be based on democratically elected councils;
    2. promote democratic and accountable exercise of power;
    3. foster national unity;
    4. ensure that services are provided to sub-structures in an equitable and sustainable manner;
    5. promote social and economic development;
    6. promote a clean, safe and healthy environment; and
    7. encourage the involvement of communities and community organisations in matters of local government.

Article 152. Local authorities

  1. A local authority shall—
    1. administer the district;
    2. oversee programmes and projects in the district;
    3. make by-laws; and
    4. perform other prescribed functions.
  2. The national Government and the provincial administration shall not interfere with or compromise a local authority’s ability or right to perform its functions.
  3. There shall be a council for each local authority.
  4. There shall be a Town Clerk or Council Secretary for each local authority and other staff of the local authority, as prescribed.

Article 153. Election of councillors, composition of councils and tenure

  1. A councillor shall be elected in accordance with Article 47(3) by registered voters resident within the district.
  2. A council shall consist of the following councillors—
    1. persons elected in accordance with clause (1);
    2. a mayor or council chairperson elected in accordance with Article 154; and
    3. not more than three chiefs representing chiefs in the district, elected by the chiefs in the district.
  3. The system of electing chiefs specified in clause (2) (b) shall be prescribed.
  4. A person qualifies to be elected as a councillor, excluding councillors specified under clause (2) (b), if that person—
    1. is not a Member of Parliament;
    2. is not less than nineteen years of age;
    3. has obtained, as a minimum academic qualification, a grade twelve certificate or its equivalent;
    4. is a citizen or a holder of a resident permit, resident in the district; and
    5. has a certificate of clearance showing the payment of council taxes, where applicable.
  5. A council may invite a person, whose presence is in its opinion desirable, to attend and to participate in the deliberations of the council but that person shall have no vote.
  6. The term of a council shall be five years commencing from the date the councillors are sworn into office after a general election and ending on the date Parliament is dissolved.

Article 154. Mayor, deputy mayor, council chairperson and deputy council chairperson

  1. There shall be a mayor and deputy mayor or council chairperson and deputy council chairperson for every council, as prescribed.
  2. A mayor and council chairperson shall be elected—
    1. directly, in accordance withArticle 47 (3) during elections for councillors, as prescribed; and
    2. for a term of five years and may be re-elected for one further term of five years.
  3. A deputy mayor and a deputy council chairperson shall be elected by the councillors from amongst themselves.

Article 155. Conduct of councillor

A councillor shall act in a manner that is consistent with a councillor’s civic duties and responsibilities, as prescribed.

Article 156. Accountability of councillors

Councillors shall be collectively and individually accountable to the national Government and residents in their wards and districts, for the performance of their functions.

Article 157. Vacation of office of councillor and vacancies

  1. A councillor shall vacate office on dissolution of a council.
  2. The office of councillor becomes vacant if—
    1. the councillor ceases to be a resident of the district;
    2. the councillor resigns by one month’s notice, in writing, to the mayor or council chairperson;
    3. the councillor becomes disqualified for election under Article 153;
    4. the result of an election for that councillor is nullified by a local government elections tribunal established in accordance with Article 159;
    5. the councillor acts contrary to the code of ethics provided for in Article 155;
    6. the councillor has a mental or physical disability that makes the councillor incapable of performing the functions of councillor; or
    7. the councillor dies.
  3. Where a councillor resigns in accordance with clause (2) (b), (c), (d) and (e)the councillor shall not be eligible for re-election as councillor for the duration of the term of that council.

Article 158. By-election for council

  1. Where a vacancy occurs in the office of mayor, council chairperson or councillor—
    1. the Town Clerk or Council Secretary of the local authority shall, within seven days of the occurrence of the vacancy, inform the Electoral Commission, in writing, of the vacancy; and
    2. a by-election shall be held in accordance with Article 57.
  2. If a person is elected to the office of mayor, council chairperson or councillor in a by-election, that mayor, council chairperson or councillor shall serve for the unexpired term of the council and be deemed—
    1. to have served a full term as mayor, council chairperson or councillor if, at the date on which the councillor assumed office, at least three years remain before the date of the next general election; or
    2. not to have served a term of office as mayor, council chairperson or councillor, if, at the date on which the councillor assumed office, less than three years remain before the date of the next general election.

Article 159. Local government elections tribunals and petitions

  1. The Chief Justice shall establish such number of ad hoc local government elections tribunals as are necessary to hear whether—
    1. a person has been validly elected as a councillor; or
    2. the office of a councillor has become vacant.
  2. A local government elections tribunal shall be presided over by a magistrate of competent jurisdiction sitting with two legal practitioners appointed by the Chief Justice.
  3. A person may file an election petition with a local government elections tribunal to challenge the election of a councillor.
  4. An election petition shall be heard within thirty days of the filing of the petition.
  5. A person may appeal a decision of a local government elections tribunal to the Constitutional Court.
  6. A councillor whose election is petitioned shall hold the seat in the council pending the determination of the election petition.
  7. The Chief Justice shall make rules for the functions, composition, appointment of members, tenure of office of members, procedures and jurisdiction of a local government elections tribunal.

Article 160. Enforcement of judgment against local authority

A person who obtains a judgment against a local authority may enforce the judgment against the local authority after one year from the date of the delivery of the judgment.

Article 161. Revenue of local authorities

A local authority is competent to levy, impose, recover and retain local taxes, as prescribed.

Article 162. Constituency Development Fund

  1. There is established the Constituency Development Fund.
  2. The appropriation of monies to the Constituency Development Fund and the management, disbursement, utilisation and accountability of the Constituency Development Fund shall be prescribed.

Article 163. Local Government Equalisation Fund and funds for local authorities

  1. There is established the Local Government Equalisation Fund.
  2. Parliament shall annually appropriate monies to the Local Government Equalisation Fund which shall be disbursed by the Ministry responsible for finance to local authorities.
  3. The Government may provide additional funds and grants to a local authority, as prescribed.

Article 164. Legislation on local authorities

The following shall be prescribed:

  1. regulation of local authorities;
  2. sub-structures and their relationships;
  3. financial control and accountability of a local authority;
  4. raising of loans, grants and other financial instruments by local authorities;
  5. election of councillors; and
  6. the effective implementation of this Part.
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