District Assemblies in a Fix: The Perils of Self-Seeking Tendencies in Decentralisation Policy Reforms in Malawi

  • B Chinsinga


This article appraises the prospects of the District Assembly system inaugurated under the auspices of decentralisation policy reforms introduced to institutionalise local governance structures and processes that are responsive, democratic, and capable of improving the livelihoods of the poor. While there seems to be reasonable consensus about the desirability of a decentralised planning framework as a vehicle for sustainable governance, development and poverty reduction, most stakeholders are nevertheless primarily motivated by the desire to advance, safeguard and gratify self-interests. Therefore, the major thrust of the argument of this paper is that unless these self-seeking tendencies are effectively tamed, the trinity of good governance, development and poverty reduction in the evolving structures and processes of local government will remain an unattainable ideal.

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eISSN: 0850-3907