Zambia is divided into nine provinces (including the special province of Lusaka), administered by officials appointed by the central government. Each province is further divided into districts, presided over by district secretaries. Around 55% of Zambians live in towns and cities, giving Zambia one of the highest urbanization rates in Africa. Lusaka has a city council, and the other large towns have councils or town management boards; most townships, however, are directly administered by government officers. Local elections in urban areas are organized on a ward system with universal adult suffrage. Local urban authorities can levy taxes, borrow money, and own and manage housing projects. They control roads, water, power, town planning, health facilities, and other public services within their areas.
Administrative districts lying outside municipal and township areas are governed by rural councils, consisting of members elected by universal adult suffrage and a minority of nominated members, mainly chiefs, appointed by the under minister of the interior. Councils have evolved from the former native authorities, which were constituted on a tribal basis. The rural councils have frequently cut across African societal boundaries in order to establish larger and more viable units. The functions and powers of rural councils are similar to those of the urban local authorities.