By Sunday Chilufya Chanda
The recent revelation by Minister of Finance Honourable Margaret Mwanakatwe that all the 156 constituencies in Zambia have received the 2018 Constituency Development Fund (CDF) is a reflection of the importance the Patriotic Front Government of His Excellency Edgar Chagwa Lungu attaches to each and every constituency of Zambia regardless of their geographical location or political inclination.
As Hon Mwanakatwe highlighted, this is the first time in quite a long-time that the Treasury has not lagged behind in releasing resources for the CDF. This is a classic model of “disbursement without discrimination” by the PF Administration.
CDF & PF Commitment to Vision 2030
This positive development like many others, signifies the PF’s commitment towards accelerating development efforts towards Vision 2030 without leaving anyone behind.
It is must be emphasised that the common thread that runs throughout the fabric of the PF Manifesto is the uncompromising resolve to improve the lives of our people.
It is against this background that all PF efforts are aimed at attaining the Vision 2030 against all odds.
The Vision 2030 is a long-term plan that expresses the aspirations of the Zambian people to live in a strong and dynamic, middle income industrial nation that provides opportunities for improving the wellbeing of all.
It embodies values of socio-economic justice underpinned by the principles of: Gender-responsive, sustainable development; Democracy; Respect for human rights; Good traditional and family values; Positive attitude towards work; Peaceful co-existence; and Public-private partnerships (PPPs).
Our encouragement to ALL Members of Parliament from the Ruling Party as well as the opposition
It is against this background that we wish to urge all MPs from the PF and the opposition to ensure that the CDF is utilised on socio-economic activities that will lead to the realization of the Vision 2030 and consequently contribute to the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all Zambians.
Further, the PF urges MPs to ensure that the utilisation of CDF is all-inclusive and that it should be used on activities that are focused on improving the lives of the most vulnerable in society that include: female-headed households, child-headed households, persons with disabilities, orphaned children, the chronically ill and elderly people.
This is because the PF Government still remains resolved to reducing poverty and vulnerability among its citizens.
Utilisation of CDF on social protection programmes or systems that contribute significantly to improving lives of the most vulnerable would also be worthwhile; as would enhancing income opportunities for poor and marginalised groups in our constituencies across the country.
The release of CDF to all constituencies in Zambia is a clear testimony that the PF Government believes in inclusive human development for all Zambians.
CDF for Human Development
Human development involves expansion of human freedoms to live long, healthy and creative lives and to actively participate in shaping equitable and sustainable development.
As people are both beneficiaries and drivers of human development, there is need to invest in them to enhance their human capacities in self-employment and wage employment that leads to socio-economic growth.
This also entails that people should be educated (to include formal and non-formal skills development), healthy, have a reasonable standard of living and feel safe.
This explains why the PF Government is heavily investing in education, health, agriculture and financial infrastructure.
The PF believes that improved education and skills development are instrumental in creating societies that are better able to respond to social and economic development challenges they face.
CDF, therefore, can be used towards supplementing government efforts in the provision of formal and non-formal education. This is because the PF acknowledges that the availability of a skilled workforce is necessary to support the transition of all economic sectors towards highly productive activities, raise labour productivity, attract investment into the country, reduce poverty and build resilience in the economy.
Issues of lifelong learning, continuing professional development and knowledge production, alongside innovation, are key to building the capabilities of individuals and society as whole and achieving gender equality.
The Unfortunate Spiteful Silence & Twisted Tales of Detractors
Unsurprisingly, not everyone is happy with the timely disbursement of CDF.
The envious and spiteful silence of a particular section of the opposition has been deafening; it appears their caustic tongues are allergic to acknowledging anything good done by the PF for the good of the people.
When they have spoken about the disbursement of the 2018 CDF, it has been out of malice.
Some mischievous opposition elements have twisted the good will of the PF Government and they have lied to people in their respective constituencies by crediting the disbursement of the CDF to their Party Life President! Really? What cheek! What desperate deceit!
However as bizarre as their, behaviour may be, it should not shock anybody as such chicanery is expected of their character.
When a person spends twenty years opposing everything and anything just for the sake of opposing and when they spend more than two decades of their life inflating their ego and insulting just for the sake of trying to sound clever; their hearts become embittered and they stop seeing the good in others.
Their conscience becomes seared, and they ascribe to themselves a monopoly of wisdom as they simultaneously seek to misappropriate the good deeds and best practice of others.
President Lungu’s Commitment to all Zambians regardless of political Affiliation
On our part, the PF Government of President Edgar Chagwa Lungu continues to work hard for all Zambians regardless of whether or not they voted for the Patriotic Front.
President Edgar Chagwa Lungu is President for all.
He has a heart for everyone- even those who make a morbid living out of deriding and disparaging his goodwill.
He has the rare virtue of repaying good to those who seek evil against him.
This noble quality of our Head of State is infectious and it permeates right through to the Ministry of Finance and other Ministries and Government Departments under the PF Administration.
It is against this background that we salute the Minister of Finance, Hon. Margaret Mwanakatwe for releasing CDF to all constituencies; and we as PF believe that if these funds are utilised effectively as outlined above, Zambia’s Human Development Index will continue improving.
Disbursement without discrimination; leaving no one behind- a PF ethos.
The Author is PF Media Director At the Patriotic Front Secretariat Lusaka