UPND Govt’s CDF is making an impact in a number of constituencies but require local participation to be enhanced- Dickson Jere


By Dickson Jere

I have been engaged lately in an academic assignment on the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) following the unprecedented increments from K1.6 million to K28.3 million by the current government.

I have engaged informally with most MPs from the ruling, opposition and independents. They all welcome the increment and most of them can showcase the immediate impact in their constituencies in terms of development. Schools, hospitals, police stations and so on…are being constructed within the localities using CDF. The changes are visible in most constituencies.

The above impact, notwithstanding, the MPs have raised concerns over the new guidelines that seem to allow central government to dictate the projects in constituencies as opposed to the local people.

“Baba Jere, what is the point of buying a brand new vehicle for the police in my constituency when what we need are roads for farmers to take maize to the market,” one MP told me.

He indicated that constituencies are being “forced” to purchase police vehicles even in rural areas where police posts don’t even exist in terms of proper structures.

“We are being told to buy butter when we don’t have bread,” another MP said when asked about CDF.
“The central procurement is distorting the choices of the people. Let the locals decide what they want and not central government,” he added.

For example, vehicles being purchased centrally means cheaper procurement but not all the constituencies need vehicles as rural and urban ones have different needs. The government should allow the constituencies- especially rural ones – to decide their needs. Some need desks while others school structures first before even talking about solar panels.

I hope the MPs will be able to raise these issues in Parliament and make appropriate amendments to the CDF Act to capture their concern. Guidelines are “delegated legislation” and should never contract the Act!

For now, CDF is making an impact in a number of constituencies but require local participation to be enhanced.


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