No.51 Assessing the Performance of Local Authorities in Zambia During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Mulenga Chonzi Mulenga and James Mulenga
The Covid-19 pandemic has had far-reaching impacts on human well-being, consequently affecting the operations and delivery of services by governments around the world. In many cases, the effective provision of essential services has been limited at both national and local levels of government. This study aims to assess the performance and challenges faced by the local authorities in Zambia in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic by collecting both qualitative and quantitative data. Qualitative data was collected from the Ministry of Local Government and Housing (MLGH) and the Covid-19 Advisory Center for Local Authorities, while quantitative data was collected from 32 local authorities across nine provinces in Zambia. Quantitative data was analyzed using descriptive statistics, while qualitative data was analyzed using theme assignment.
The study has established that Covid-19 has affected the provision of key services by local authorities in Zambia, with some services suspended and others increased. It has also established that local authorities in Zambia faced new challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic, such as increased operational costs arising from adopting Covid-19 compliance systems. As a result, local authorities, in adherence to WHO and MoH guidelines, have had to employ various response strategies, including social distancing, masking, and hand sanitizing. The study recommends a look into sustainable solutions for councils and long-lasting measures to address the effects of the pandemic and the challenges being faced by the local authorities.