Local Governmnent system and structures:
The District Council
is the highest policy making body responsible for promoting infrastructural and economic development in the district. The Council is made up of two bodies: an elected Council of councillors (which has not been in place since 2004) and an administrative body called the Council Secretariat.
The District Commissioner heads the secretariat of the DC. He is responsible for all planning and implementation as well as monitoring of all development programmes in the district.
The Council Secretariat
is made up of civil servants and NGOs employees working in Nkhotakota and it is headed by the District Commissioner who also happens to be the Controlling Officer because s/he is responsible for financial resources spent by the Council.
The District Commissioner directly supervises the six Traditional Authorities who are under the Office of the President and Cabinet. In Nkhotakota, there Traditional Authorities Kanyenda, Malengachanzi, Mwadzama, Mwansambo, Mphonde and Kafuzila and Kanyenda is a Senior Chief.
Apart from taking a leading role in the development endeavours that benefit their constituents, T.A’s, (and Group Village headmen and Village Headmen) wield certain powers and perform basic functions related to traditional issues. The chiefs are also tasked to settle disputes in their areas of jurisdiction.
Chiefs assist the government in performing various tasks such as maintaining the public order, mobilizing people for rural development projects etc. Furthermore, the T.A’s in particular, chair the ADC’s in their respective areas.