BY SENIYA BANDA
The opposition Economic Front has threatened to take legal action against Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Garry Nkombo over the controversial procurement of 156 high value vehicles for each constituency.
And PF presidential hopeful, Chishimba Kambwili, has condemned the move and warned Mr Nkombo to stop interfering in the operation of the CDF.
According to a notice in one of the Daily Tabloids, government published bids for the procurement of 156 of 4 by 4 vehicles valued over K1 million each under the Constituency Development Fund, a matter that has caused an uproar.
Economic Front president Wynter Kabimba who appeared on Millennium radio’s ‘The Interview’ program says Mr Nkombo has to justify in court whether the procurement of the vehicles are in the interest of the Zambian people.
Mr Kabimba says by close of business today, he will write a letter of demand to the minister over the procurement procedure.
He has also questioned why urban constituencies like Lusaka Central will need such kind of high value vehicles similar to those for rural constituencies.
And Patriotic Front Matero Member of Parliament Miles Sampa says members of parliament were not consulted by the ministry over the procurement of the said motor vehicles.
Mr Sampa says despite members of parliament being key in the disbursement of the CDF, they have continued being sidelined, a situation he describes as worrying.
But government has justified as necessary the decision to procure the high value vehicles using the Constituency Development Fund.
Permanent Secretary Mambo Hamaundu says the vehicles are for the purpose of enhancing monitoring and evaluation of CDF disbursement.
Mr Hamaundu further says the procurement of the vehicles is part of the CDF guidelines for a council to own 4 by 4 Toyota land cruiser in order to enhance service delivery.
Meanwhile, Patriotic Front presidential hopeful Chishamba Kambwili has warned the ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to stop the procurement of 156 vehicles using the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) because it will breed corruption.
Mr Kambwili said the CDF money was meant to be sent into constituencies so that the local people could decide on what to do with the money and not for the money to spent by the head office.
He wondered why the head office should be spending such huge amounts of money on behalf of the constituency.
Mr Kambwili said the idea of increasing CDF was to decentralize decision making to the local away from the central government but what was happening now was not decentralization.
He has challenged government to cancel the transaction and send the money to the constituency so that the people should decide what to do with it.
“Ministers, permanents secretaries should not be making decisions for the people,” he said.
Mr Kambwili said the money should be sent to constituency so that the tendering process should be done at local level because that is what decentralization fund.
He also said Mr Nkombo should stop interfering with the ward development because he was delaying the process.