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Draft law on the reorganisation of local government analysed and adopted

ByWebmaster

Apr 16, 2024

BUJUMBURA, April 15th (ABP) – Members of parliament, meeting in plenary session at the Kigobe hemicycle on Thursday 11 April, analysed and unanimously adopted the bill on the reorganisation of communal administration.

The Minister of the Interior, Community Development and Public Security, Martin Niteretse, who had represented the government to explain the bill and answer questions from MPs, said that communal administration was governed by Organic Law No. 1/04 of 19 February 2020 amending certain provisions of Law No. 1/33 of 28 November 2014 on the organisation of communal administration. He pointed out that since the promulgation of the latter, several elements taking into account the new orientations of the government in terms of integral development of the population and effective decentralisation require that certain provisions be revised.  There has been the promulgation of Organic Law No 1/05 of 16 March 2023 Organic Law No. 1/05 of 16 March 2023 on the determination and delimitation of the provinces, communes and hills or neighbourhoods of the Republic of Burundi where that new structuring of territorial entities implies a reorganisation at the level of administrative entities including the province, commune, zone and hill or neighbourhood, he said, indicating that the number of entities has changed, from 18 provinces to 5, from 119 communes to 42, from 399 zones to 451 and from 2911 hills or neighbourhoods to 3044. Effective decentralisation also requires the strengthening of the communal executive, said Minister Niteretse, adding that local authorities have been given terms of reference to bring public services closer to the people.

According to Mr Niteretse, that bill on the reorganisation of local government includes a number of innovations. It combines two old laws (the organic law and the ordinary law)”, explained the Minister of the Interior, indicating that that same bill reveals other innovations such as the fact that the budget of the commune will be annexed to the general budget of the State; that the communal administrator will no longer be a member of the Communal Council; and that the terms of reference of the communal administrator, the zone leader, the village or district chief will be revised each time to bring public services closer to the people.

That project aims to boost local development in preparation for the need to draw up hill development plans.

                                                                                                                                                   View of MPs

Other innovations relate to the minimum age for standing for election as a local authority administrator, which has been raised from 25 to 30, said Mr Niteretse, explaining that to administer a local authority, wisdom, maturity and experience are required. The term “permanent executive secretary” will be replaced by “communal executive secretary”. The latter will play the role of registrar and will be recruited on a competitive basis. Area chief councillors will have to have a university degree, with specific terms of reference and a secretariat. As for the village or district chief, he or she will be called upon to boost village side development activities, added Minister Niteretse.

That new, reorganised law is intended to supplement the law on the division of territorial entities, said the President of the National Assembly, before pointing out that that law is a genuine reform of the old organic law.

As for Mrs Sabine Ntakarutimana, First Vice-President of the National Assembly, she called for the involvement of other ministries in the implementation of that reorganisation of communal administration, so that it does not remain on paper. She also suggested reorganising the health districts.

In their speeches, the deputies welcomed the reorganisation of the local administration, asking that its implementation be carefully studied.