This country has developed a culture of being irresponsible. And the levels of irresponsibility are nauseating, manifesting themselves in laziness.

We have a generation of people who have been brought up in a culture of NOT EARNING a living. We have a generation of people who have believed in living off other people’s hard work, getting some sort of “unconventional taxes” from those who earn a living.

This MUST change. This MUST stop.

The directive by the Republican President that there should be no cadres at bus stations and markets and on the streets is meant to inculcate in the youths a sense of responsibility, a culture of “working for your money”.

It is good that this directive has received support from the majority of the people of Zambia.

There have however been some negative offshoots arising from adherence to this directive.

Housebreaks and burglaries in residential areas have gone up. Some people are even asking about the alternative occupations of the cadres whose life depended on preyingfrom the sweat of others.

The first and immediate alternative is to TEACH them that it is wrong to live off the hard work of other people. “Everyone has to work in order to eat”.

What is good about this TEACHING is that it is not just a theory. It has already been backed by resources that should enable these “spoiled” youths and adults to be working in order to eat.

One of the resources is the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).

ALLOCATION OF THE CDF

The allocation of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) in the 2022 National Budget has been increased sixteen-fold, from K1.6 million to K25.7 million per Constituency.

Each constituency has been allocated in excess of twenty five million seven hundred and thirty nine kwacha (K25,739,910). The utilisation of this amount has been broken down as follows:

– Community-based projects have been allocated 60% of this amount. This translates to fifteen million five hundred and thirteen thousand five hundred and fifty six kwacha (K15,513,556);

– 10% of the total amount is going towards Youth Empowerment. This amounts to about two million five hundred and seventy-three thousand nine hundred and ninety-one kwacha (K2,573,991);

– Another 10% is going towards Women Empowerment (K2,573,991); and

– Secondary education and skills and lifelong development, including bursaries, have been allocated 20% of the total amount. This translates to about five million and seventy-eight thousand three hundred and seventy-two kwacha(K5,078,372)

These are just figures of monies. These monies will not achieve their intended purposes by just being dished out and utilised. There is more that needs to happen. There is more that needs to be done.

As the monies have been allocated to the Constituencies, the beneficiaries are the members of those particular Constituencies.

These monies are not just about developing the Constituencies. They are also about developing the people in those Constituencies.

2022 NATIONAL BUDGET

During the presentation of the National Budget on Friday 29th October 2021, the Minister of Finance said the following:

PARAGRAPH 158

“Madam Speaker, given this increased allocation for constituencies, we have widened the scope for utilisation of the Constituency Development Fund. This means that certain tasks that were previously under the Central Government through the district offices will no longer be performed by them. They will be undertaken by the Local Authorities working with the local communities through CDF. For example, primary school classrooms, teachers’ houses, desks, rural clinics, staff houses, local courts, small bridges, clearance of canals, community boreholes, dip tanks and small dams must be funded under CDF. Constituencies must budget for all these items under CDF.”

PARAGRAPH 159

“Madam Speaker, in addition to the traditional community based projects, empowerment schemes that were previously funded through relevant ministries such as youth and gender will now be funded under CDF. Bursaries for secondary schools and skills development will also be administered through CDF. This will ensure equity. Under this model rural communities will also benefit unlike in the past when concentration was in the urban areas. The sector ministries will continue to provide policy and expert advice in the implementation of CDF financed projects.”

POLITICISATION OF THE CDF

The Constituency Development Fund (CDF) was introduced in 1995 as “instrument” to facilitate the deliverance of public developmental goods and services directly to local communities. (https://repository.jctr.org.zm).

What we saw at the beginning was the Members of Parliament (MPs) having an upper hand in utilisation of the CDF.

With time we have however seen guidelines on the use of the CDF being improved and fine-tuned to increase community participation in deciding how the CDF should be used.

There has however been one big challenge that has up to now not been addressed, but requires to be addressed particularly NOW with the increase in the amount of the CDF. This challenge is the POLITICISATION OF THE CDF.

For example some of those entrusted with the task of facilitating the election of members of the WDCs seem to be bent on politicising the process.

A few days ago, we received the following concerns:

Good morning!

I am a Ndola resident who is concerned with political interference into WDCs voting process and demonization by area Councillors. Some Councillors are even telling WDCs that they will be working for free and they are wasting time to contest these elections. Councillors want their own people .

I feel that the WDCs members should be given chance to work freely without political interference and the government should find a way of supporting them rather than being puppets to the politician who just want to find a way of stealing the CDF.

Concerned Citizen
Ndola

These sentiments by the concerned citizen of Ndola are an indication that, with the increase in the amount and the scope of the CDF, there is to review the laws and guidelines governing the management and utilisation of the CDF.

Politicisation of the CDF needs to be addressed and redressed.

DECENTRALISATION CONFERENCE

On 22 and 23 November 2021, there was a Conference on Decentralisation, that was convened by Cabinet office. In his presentation to the Conference the Council Secretary forLusangazi Town Council, Mr. Justin Mbashila, said that the “Ward Development Committees (WDCs) and the Constituency Development Fund Committee (CDFC) are both involved in the management of CDF projects”.

He said that the “WDCs are the entry point for all community engagements activities”, and that they “are responsible for coordinating and submission of CDF project list/proposals to CDFC”

During the same Conference, the Council Secretary for Kalumbila district,Ms. Josephine Mwanza, said that “the link between WDCs and CDFCs is the submission by WDCS to CDF Committees of priotised project proposals coming from the Community. The CDFC considers, approves and allocates resources for project implementation”. She further observed that “the formation of the CDF Committees and increase in the CDF allocation will further encourage community participation.”

The Council Secretary for Chirundu District, Ms. Laura Yumba Munkanta,also observed that the “Composition is true testimony of the community participation in the disbursement of CDF. Communities objectively deliberate project proposals from the WDCs and develop a final list of projects for funding under CDF.”

SOME QUESTIONS ABOUT ACCESSING CDF

A few days ago, we received some questions from another concerned citizen, as follows:

Good afternoon,

1. What are the guidelines or requirements for one to access these funds?:
– Youth Empowerment;
– Secondary Education and Skills Lifelong Development:

2. Does this bursaries cover NIPA and Private Universities? e.g. Harvest University etc?

Your response will be highly appreciated.

God bless

The good part in this regard is that the Decentralisation Conference of 22-23 November 2021 indicated that the following are happening NOW:

– Development of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) Guidelines on the management, disbursement, utilisation, and accountability of the Fund;

– Review of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) Act, No.11 of 2018 for amendment; and

– Development of Regulations for the Constituency Development Fund.

CONCLUSION

For the CDF to achieve its intended purposes, it will not be enough to simply disburse the funds to projects and to the people. Again it will not be enough to simply revise the laws and guidelines governing the management and utilisation of the CDF. The beneficiaries, the members of the particular Constituencies, require ATTITUDE AND MIND-SET CHANGE.

About the Author
Simon Kalolo Kabanda is a Human Rights and Development Consultant. He is also an analyst of governance and socio-political developments.
(If you have any socio-political question that you would like to be discussed on this column, kindly send a message to me either through sms, WhatsApp or email).

SIMON KALOLO KABANDA
Whatsapp: +260-761-206353
Email: shimwenya@gmail.com
11 January 2022