CDF under MPs vulnerable

Wed, 21 Dec 2016 13:44:28 +0000

THE urgency and unanimity exhibited in passing the motion for the Members of Parliament to take full control in the regulation, management, disbursement and utilisation of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) signals the insatiable appetite for

personal aggrandisement.

Members of Parliament across the political divide joined hands on the one subject that is of common selfish interest.

Since 1995 when the CDF was first approved by Parliament, the purpose of this fund has been to finance micro-community projects for poverty reduction in various constituencies.

However, the six billion dollar question that begs an honest answer is whether CDF has been discharged for the intended
purpose over the years.

A research conducted by the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia and Micah Challenge Zambia suggests that CDFs do not always have the development impact intended.

It reveals that 88 percent of the projects sampled, community members raised concerns about some inappropriate projects, the misuse of funds or insufficient adherence to CDF guidelines.

This high rate of dismal success in the implementation of the CDFs goes to show that the discharge of the fund is fraught with corruption mainly due to lack of transparency, community participation and undue political influence.

Despite all this, our Members of Parliament still saw it fit to unanimously wrestle control of the Constituency Development Fund from central government and councils into their hands.

And we think that the decision to put the CDF under the direct charge of the Member of Parliament is for ulterior motives.

In many countries where CDF is disbursed, the fund is channelled from central government to district councils for local development and the Member of Parliament is not solely in charge of it but works with the CDF committee on how the funds are distributed.

Going by the foregoing arrangement, a Member of Parliament, still found a way of manipulating the process regarding the
manner CDF is to be utilised.

Now that CDF will be moved from the local authorities to the office of the area Member of Parliament, definitely exposes the fund to possible abuse.

It is well documented that a good number of Members of Parliament in the past have been dragged to court on grounds of misappropriation of CDF and have been convicted of corrupt practices.

With the decision by Parliament last week, our people may have to forget about implementation of meaningful developmental projects in their locality to see the light of day.

Undoubtedly, Members of Parliament will influence the awarding of contracts for community-based projects to themselves, their friends and families at the expense of the local people who, in fact, are intended beneficiaries.

How transparent will be the procedure of processing CDF applications from the local community? Will community participation be guaranteed when the CDF is disbursed by the office of the Member of Parliament?

We do not think that placing the CDF under direct charge of the office of the area Member of Parliament help enhance community development and adherence to the CDF guidelines as they are prone to use the funds as a conduit to enrich themselves.

We urge the Ministry of Local Government and Ministry of Finance to revise guidelines on the management and utilisation of the CDF to ensure effectiveness in tackling


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