A former civic leader has appealed to Kabwe Municipal Council to heed President Hakainde Hichilema’s directive for local authorities to adequately sensitize communities on the importance of the Constituency Development Funds (CDF).
Billy Sichamba, said there is urgent need for the local authority to sensitize the general public so that they know the usage, allocation, and disbursement of CDF.
Mr Sichamba observed that most of the communities in Kabwe lack basic knowledge on CDF and that this can be seen from the many comments and concerns they raise on various issues.
And the former Mayor cited his observation when he featured on a programme dubbed “Power to the People” on power FM that the calls, comments, and concerns people raised, it was apparent that they do not fully understand the differences between CDF and central government funds.
He said some callers called to complain about poor roads and how the CDF is not being used to construct the roads to bituminous standard despite government increasing the CDF allocation per Constituency from the previous K1.6million to K28.3 million.
He said these concerns are a clear indication that there are some lapses when it comes to understanding the projects that are supposed to be undertaken using CDF as well as those that require the funding from the central government.
Mr Sichamba, therefore, said the local authority, the Members of Parliament, the Civic Leaders, and other politicians have a huge role to play in ensuring that they disseminate adequate information on CDF to the general public in order to bridge the existing gaps.
He added that the Civil Servants, the Ward Development Committees, as well as other line ministries, should equally take keen interest in creating the much-needed awareness in the communities.
He observed that the people are in dire need of information and that it is only when they understand something that they would buy into it and effectively monitor the on-going projects and developments in their localities.
Mr Sichamba said there is also need for consistency in informing the general public on what is obtaining in their constituencies with regards to how the funds are being spent as this will help to provide proper checks and balances to the government.
He said President Hichilema is always on record advising MPs and the local authorities to ensure that there is adequate awareness around the CDF but that people still lack basic information which is a serious concern.
“I believe that there are various channels of communication that can be employed in ensuring that the general public are made aware of CDF, because effective communication is part of development,” he advised.