THE Local Government Association of Zambia (LGAZ) has backed the suspension of councillors at Livingstone City Council because the civic leaders did not follow laid down procedures when they suspended the town clerk and two directors.
Local Government and Housing Minister Emerine Kabanshi recently suspended the councillors in the tourist capital for illegally sending away Town Clerk Vivian Chikoti and director of public health George Kumoyo.
The councillors also sent on forced leave ssistant director of engineering Rennie Shindelele, but the minister reversed the action.
LGAZ president Daniel Chisenga said councillors had no right to suspend division one to division three officers, who included town clerks and directors.
Mr Chisenga, who is Lusaka City Council mayor, said in an interview yesterday that the role of councillors was merely to recommend for the suspension to the Local Government Service Commission (LGSC)
"As an association, we don't take pride in seeing councils being suspended because that has negative effects on the delivery of services to people. However according to the Local Government Amendment Act of 2010, councillors can only fire or suspend division four workers but they cannot suspend or fire division three to one officers," he said.
Mr Chisenga said councillors at Lusaka City Council followed the law recently when they recommended to the LGSC for the suspension of some directors.
"We didn't suspend the directors as councillors but we merely recommended for their suspension to the commission. The suspension was only effected when we received communication from the commission that they were agreeable with our recommendation," he said.
On Tuesday this week during a media briefing, suspended Livingstone Mayor Aggrey Njekwa said the councillors' decision to suspend the town clerk and other officials was not regrettable because it was aimed at revamping productivity at the local authority.
Mr Njekwa said the town clerk and other senior officers had been neglecting their duties, hence it was appropriate to suspend them.
He said councillors acted on the town clerk and other senior officials following Southern Province Permanent Secretary Chileshe Mulenga's recommendation.
The said councillors reviewed all council operations and discovered that it was not only Mr Kumoyo who was found wanting but that the problem emanated from lack of proper guidance by the town clerk.