Mkaika MMD member of parliament Peter Phiri says his constituency has not received its allocation of the Constituency Development Funds (CDF), a situation he fears could jeopardize his chances of being re-elected in 2021.
But Phiri, however, encouraged his constituents to remain calm amidst their ongoing economic challenges because there is light at the end of the tunnel.
In an interview, Phiri said lack of CDF had attracted sharp criticism on local parliamentarians in Katete District, including himself.
He said for Mkaika constituency, the CDF was disbursed in full last year, while in 2017, only K700,000 from the allotted K1.6 million was received making it hard to complete all development projects, but that this year’s consignment had not yet been disbursed.
“We are supposed to receive these monies every year, but we only received these monies in full last year, 2018. As for this year, there is nothing! In 2017, we received K700,000 and that makes us MPs face difficulties in doing things. That money (CDF) helps us much, we have tried to put ours (personal resources), but that can’t be compared to CDF,” Phiri complained.
He expressed worry that time was too short for MPs to expedite development, which would satisfy people, in view of the looming general election due to be held after next year.
“The government says they don’t have money to give us, as CDF. Now, this is 2019, and next year it’s 2020, even if we receive it now, you find that we have a short period to do the developments, which people can appreciate as you know that the other year, it’s for elections. So, you can see how tricky it is for us MPs,” he said.
“Year in, year out, the government has been promising to do the roads, but nothing! They have done much in urban areas to which we appreciate, but in rural areas, most roads have been neglected! In my area, since 2011, no road has been done despite submitting these roads every year to the council and to the (Local Government) Ministry, but nothing is coming up,” he lamented, adding that MPs had to, however, accept the blame for developmental failures because the electorate looked up to them.
But Phiri argued that despite the country’s economic crisis, characterized by liquidity challenges and high unemployment, he remained hopeful that Zambia’s economy would turnaround as no situation was permanent.
“I will urge the people of Mkaika to remain calm because there is a light at the end. We are living in a difficult situation because, economically, it’s a challenge. But I am hopeful and believe that every situation doesn’t remain permanently, it will pass and better things are coming. It might not be in my time, but it’s so unfortunate that most of the things I promised the people are not happening due to what we are experiencing as a country,” said Phiri.