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Alba Iulia
Monday, January 24, 2022

Excitement on CDF; case of placing a fattened calf before a pack of hungry wolves!

Columns Excitement on CDF; case of placing a fattened calf before a pack...


By Prince Bill M. Kaping’a Political/social analyst

INTENTIONS by the ‘New Dawn’ administration to pump in a staggering K25.7 million into the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) from the initial, embarrassingly paltry, K1.6 million, as pronounced in the ambitious national budget unveiled on the floor of the house by Finance Minister & Development, Situmbeko Musokotwane, have obviously elicited conflicting statements from various stakeholders. We are not perplexed at all!

Always keen to be seen to be alert, and working in the eyes of the media, Kabushi Member of Parliament Bowman Lusambo was undoubtedly the first to fire a salvo! While insisting that the K25.7 million was not adequate to deal with all the challenges that the budget has added, the outspoken lawmaker from Kabushi intimated that his constituency only has three members of staff comprising a secretary, security and an administrative officer and none had capacity to dispense the K25.7 million.

In no time, Green Party leader, Peter Sinkamba, joined the fray declaring that his party is least expectant about the increment of CDF owing to the fact it has been an access of corruption and abuse in the past. “Even if the funds are increased but nothing is done to ensure accountability and transparency, it will not yield desirable results,” he said in an interview with a Lusaka based tabloid.

And speaking with Daily Revelation, Col Panji Kaunda warned that a repeat of what used to happen in the PF, where ministers, members of parliament, other leaders and cadres became tenderpreneurs, seeking and easily winning contracts and sometimes registering companies through different names to win projects, must not be allowed to happen again, especially with the hive of activity that will be happening at constituency level.

The Zambia United Local Authorities Workers Union (ZULAWU) president, Emmanuel Mwansa, equally added his voice to the debate suggesting that the increase in CDF for 2022 will require amendments to a number of pieces of legislation which include the constituency development fund act to enhance accountability.

On the other hand, our beloved President Hakainde Hichilema, aka Bally, insists that his government will take money away from a small number of “big thieves” in Lusaka and disburse it to provinces and constituencies to enhance development.

We concur with the President in totality! We can’t continue to have a situation whereby a clique of individuals in Lusaka keep on ‘chewing’ money meant for development on their own. And if at all, by any stroke of fortune, some of this ‘change’ must be invested in some projects; then they must go on a frenzy putting up flyover bridges, roads, schools and shopping malls everywhere in Lusaka, leaving out Lwatembu my village!

While it’s important to appreciate that the good intentions of our President may be commendable, it’s equally important to realize that there may be a few individuals with evil intentions still lurking out there.

If no measures are taken to tighten some loose bolts and nuts that may prompt financial leakages, just know we may have placed a fattened calf before a pack of hungry wolves! In no time, you will see them enjoying life of opulence living in grand mansions, driving expensive SUVs and sending their kids to elite schools if not investing in pondos!

But how best can we avoid plunder of such precious resources?

In accordance to the revised local government Act 11 of 2018, the CDF Committee shall consist of part-time members appointed by the Minister as follows:

5. (a) Two community representatives nominated by the MP from the constituency;

(b) Three councilors in the constituency, two of whom are elected by the councilors in the constituency and one of whom is nominated by the MP from the constituency;

(c) One representative of a chief where a constituency has one chief or two representatives of chiefs where the constituency has two or more chiefs, nominated by those chiefs from within the constituency;

(d) A representative of the director responsible for planning at the local authority in which the constituency is located;

(e) A representative of the director responsible for works or engineering services at the local authority in which the constituency is located;

(f) A representative of a civil society organization operating in the constituency nominated by the MP from the constituency;

(g) A representative of a religious organization in the constituency nominated by the MP from the constituency;

(h) The MP from the constituency; and

(i) A representative of the director responsible for finance at the local authority in which the constituency is located.

If indeed such safety measures have been in force since 2018, how come rampant abuse of CDF has continued, unabated? No need to pretend, some MPS, Council officials and chiefs have been complicity in stealing this money. Would we desire this continues?

Katuba Member of Parliament, Mwabashike Nkulukusa claims he has initiated the establishment of a nine-member committee which will drive the developmental agenda of the constituency.

M. Nkulukusa says the strategic development plan will focus on five key sectors of constructing hospitals, schools, roads, water, sanitation and hygiene as well as rural electricity connectivity. Perhaps we can learn one or two things from this. Perhaps we can add on a few ideas to help prevent white collar thieves from stealing our money.

The office of the district commissioner is supposedly the eyes and ears of government – the President in short! In other words, a DC is supposedly a small president in a given district who is expected to better understand the manifesto of the party in power and be eager to implement the same without any qualms! To this send we would like to propose that the DC’s office must be equipped with the necessary tools to oversee and monitor the implementation of projects under CDF and report to cabinet office accordingly.

8 COMMENTS

  1. Let’s wait and see how it goes. Already people are jostling for inclusion on the CDF committees. I have always been against this nonsense called CDF. What is required is to go back to the days of PWD…. which should be present in each district… not trusting hungry politicians.

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  2. I get disturbed hearing someone writing to the nation and saying such
    a thing as government builds shopping mall , which mall as this government ever built before?

  3. Almost Every one at the top in the PF GRZ was corrupt because lungu never denied that he was a corrupt clueless theif……to a point of trying to legalise corruption…….

    We had Amos chanda state House calling the sudden acquisition of questionable wealth by civil servants as

    ” social mobility”

    That mentality permeated downwards through all levels of the civil service…….

    Now we have a leadership that fights corruption at all levels with deeds……….

    We expect this behaviour by the leadership of HEHH to permeate to all levels of the civil service

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  4. I don’t admire people who are always full of complaints , however I like those who bring up ideas to solve any given problems to start with this government was supposed to research at the constituency level and assess the personnel and the offices.
    These assessments were supposed to be done before the budget was done, here I can see incompetence in this celebrated government.
    In this new scenario there are a vast number of holes and mistakes as if there are no learned officers to sport them, I just don’t know why there is so much confusion is it lack of planning or just planned by blind dull individuals the whole thing is just a mess no direction.

  5. The lawmaker Lusambo was just brave enough to point out at one of the biggest problems with the constituency funds distribution to the local communities, 1 , constituents are not the same sizes some have more wards and others have fewer wards, this translated as some having more people and others having less population.
    You cannot give a uniform figure all round K25 million to everyone of them.
    2. This government was supposed to assess the man power if they are there or have the capacity to distribute the funds transparently.
    3. This government was supposed to train it’s own officers who can manage the constituency funds adequately and prudently.
    4 . Take inventory of which part of the community are supposed to be empowered or what problems should be solved with these…

  6. It’s the 2nd most serious problem that we have as a nation, we don’t trust ourselves. We are always suspicious of each other

  7. This money is not for development of constituencies but a payment to all UPND MPs as a refund for the money they have been using during their time I. Opposition….and many of them will misappropriate the money.

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