|The Citizens Democratic Party
Tel: +260- 955-600674, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
|The Benefits of Decentralization
|In a democracy, opposition political parties and the party in power have the duty and obligation to educate and inform its citizens the basic
principles of democracy. Unfortunately, this has not been the case with political parties in our country.
The Citizens Democratic Party would like to end this retrogressive culture and usher in a culture that will build citizens knowledge, skills
and ability to participate, to advocate and to hold government officials accountable.
Once citizens understand the basic principles of democracy, citizens are able to play their part actively and effectively at all levels of
The vision of the Citizens Democratic Party state that we Put People First in a decentralized national government system that will be
compatible with an economy that will guarantee Zambians a life of hope, freedom, and opportunity.
It is important, therefore, that our citizens know the Benefits of Decentralization to appreciate the need to decentralize the governance
system in our country now.
|a. Decentralization, including substantial fiscal decentralization, provides a framework which facilitates and stimulates local sustainable
development throughout the country.
Fiscal decentralization will reverse current practice which extracts resources from the periphery and concentrates these at the centre. Thus
more resources will be retained at the local level, and will help to enhance or stimulate local economies and be available to support local
b. Decentralization represents the most effective means of curbing excessive concentration of power by the central government, which is a
distinctive feature of the existing governance model, and which is inimical to several basic tenets of good governance, e.g. openness,
transparency, fairness and probity.
Conferring power to local jurisdictions to manage local affairs will make it more difficult for any single group, be it government or private
interests, to dominate the national scene; and will increase chances that persons of differing persuasions will occupy positions of power
somewhere in the system.
c. Decentralization facilitates greater popular participation in governance. It brings government closer to the people, and thus enables
citizens to be better informed and to better understand the conduct of public business. This facilitates the forging of a strong relationship
between the governors and the governed and identification of the people with their government, which helps to reduce alienation from the
d. Decentralization increases efficiency in determining service provision.
In a decentralized, participatory system, citizens can influence decisions about service provision through mechanisms which enable them
to indicate the type, level, quality and mix of services they desire, and the cost they are willing to pay for such services. This constitutes a
type of market mechanism for determining service provision in a manner which responds to the wishes of citizens, and is sensitive to their
willingness and ability to pay. This will not only optimize citizen satisfaction, but is also an excellent mechanism for reconciling citizens
expectations to the resources available and/or the price which they are prepared to pay for the services desired.
e. Decentralization facilitates a better division of labor in the management of public affairs.
The creation of strong local governments with the capacity to effectively manage local affairs enables central government to concentrate on
higher level functions. This both improves efficiency and creates more effective checks and balances.
f. Decentralization, manifested in a participatory style of local governance, fosters greater social cohesion and stability, and encourages
reconciliation between local interest groups and a convergence around common interests. This process of participation helps to create
the conditions for collaboration and working together.
g. Decentralization provides the opportunity for a wider diversity of innovations, and increases flexibility of government in the context of
changing circumstances. This is so because the decentralized, participatory model of governance mainstreams the many groups of
citizens that were previously excluded, and creates greater scope for local and community self management.
This means that the vast reservoir of talent, innovativeness, creativity, problem solving capacity and leadership qualities which have
previously laid dormant in the local population is now able to find expression, and can be applied to the problems, visions and aspirations
of the local community, and will also be available to contribute to nation building.
h. Decentralization facilitates the mobilization of local resources in support of the development process, and enables value-added
contributions to the provision of services and development efforts, which increases the total value of services provided, or development
achieved, from the limited formal resources available. This happens because local people are able to identify and mobilize local
resources which would not be available to centrally run programs, and because citizens are often willing to volunteer free labor and
expertise, and other forms of in-kind contributions, in order to support local initiatives.
i. Decentralization broadens the potential for societal capacity building.
Weak capacity is one of the main constraints to national development and good governance. The existing authoritarian, over-centralized
model of governance is a major inhibitor to capacity development, because it narrows the amount of people who are allowed any
meaningful role in the process. A decentralized, participatory model of governance dramatically increases the opportunity for involvement,
and provides space for persons to contribute at several different levels.
j. A decentralized, participatory model of local governance fosters accountability, transparency & openness, and creates pressure for the
adoption of high ethical standards in the conduct of public affairs.
In this model, citizens play an active role in decision-making in respect of service provision and other aspects of local governance, and
therefore share information and have a good understanding of the issues and facts relating to such matters. This gives them the
knowledge base to critically appraise the performance of local government in these areas.
k. Decentralization allows for representatives of civil society to be appointed to carry out oversight functions on behalf of citizens, i.e. to
examine transactions, enquire into use of public resources and the exercise of authority by public officials, and to report their findings to
l. Decentralization facilitates the tailoring of solutions for local problems to local conditions. Since each region is empowered to manage
their own affairs, they will be able to tailor programmes or solutions to local problems to reflect the special circumstances or preferences
of their respective regions/localities.
|Putting People First
|The Benefits of Decentralization