Thursday, July 16, 2009

MPs to legalise Constituency Development Fund soon

MPs to legalise Constituency Development Fund soon

YAKOBE CHIWAMBO AND ABDUL WANDWI

The introduction of Constituency Development Fund (CDF) which flopped last year even after it was slotted in 2008/9 budget is set to be legalized despite all odds.

Almost all MPs in unison are in support of the move that may become a reality the end of this month.

CDF is a fund that will be controlled by each MP in his/her constituency.

Reports have it the Bunge will legalise CDF between 30th and 31st of July .

The members of civil society, led by Policy Forum have been opposed to the move for years and they argue what needs to be done is empowerment and capacitation of local government authorities.

The idea to introduce the fund started in 2006 but the parliament is yet to decide whether to give it a go ahead. However the Government allocated “some unknown amount” for the fund as the Policy Forum (PF) said.


According to the Policy forum, CDF was unconstitutional and adopting it would mean that the MPs were assuming Government's role.

“We do not have powers to prevent the MPs from passing CDF but once they do, we shall take the issue to court because citizens do not want it and it is unconstitutional,” said Hebron Mwakagenda, executive director of PF at their office.

Mwakagenda elaborated that if CDF is passed, the MPs would assume Government's roles of implementing development projects.

Constitutionally, MPs roles are to make laws, to monitor the Government and accelerate development projects. They are supposed to work with the government at central and local level and be accountable for resources allocated to solve development problems in their constituencies.

He noted that with the CDF, MPs would have the responsibility of implementing development projects which is the Government's role. This implies that no one would monitor the government.

The director stressed that adopting CDF would weaken the ability of the MPs to question failures to implement projects.

“If the MP is in charge of the fund and implementing development projects, can he query him/herself?”

cautioned Mwakagenda.

He explained that when the idea started PF in collaboration with FEMCA, TANGO, TAKOSODE and all and other NGO's (in total 75) started visiting commonwealth countries to understand CDF was.

Mwakagenda noted evaluations of such fund that started in 2005 in Uganda and Kenya was unimpressive.

For instance, in Uganda MPs failed to account for the funds and later in 2007, they decided to suspend. instead, the Ugandan decided to re-introduce it and made some updates. they asked each MP to select a committee that would help them running CDF.

in his view, the coming of CDF would bring conflicts between MPs and local government authorities.

he elaborated that local government have a duty of implementing projects that are of interest to people but in case the CDF is put into place, MPs would be prioritising the projects of their interest.

Policy Forum's accountability monitoring manager, Marcossy Albanie said there was a big possibility that MPs had some intention with the CDF.

Albanie said Policy Forum educated the mass through Television stations and radio programmes and have come to understand the possible impact of the CDF.

“Every citizen who has understood this fund has signed against it,” said Albanie. he however expressed disappointment lack of Government's response to possible allegation of the the fund.

Albanie said Forum policy had been issuing leaflets and book lets that were distributed to the parliamentarians last year but no response has been given.

Among the arguments that that the Forum give include that the fund is unconstitutional, Mps would be attempted by the funds and by the end of day fail to account for the fund.

Others are priority would be given to the MP's needs and not those of the citizens; the money is not really an addition as it is assumed.

Albanie explained that the CDF are driven from the normal budget and said the formula is equal to “normal budget minus government's debts times 2.5 per cent.”

“I am afraid that this may be a burden to taxpayers as the money is generated internally,” noted Albanie.

The Policy Forum stands for the interest of the citizens and has stood against the idea of introducing CDF due to CDF's negative effects to the nation.

However, the MPs according to a leaflet by Policy Forum on CDF, claim to act as ATM machines in their constituencies as the citizen assume they have money to solve all the problem. Therefore the MP says their income was not sufficient to solve such problem. The MP expected CDF to be relieved from the burden.

The PF argue that the role of role of MP was to work with citizensto hold to the government at central and local level.

3 comments:

  1. sihle NontshokweniMay 12, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    Which year was the policy finally enacted?

    ReplyDelete
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