PETAUKE Central Constituency member of parliament Emmanuel Jay Jay Banda says it is illogical for someone to suggest that members of parliament s or councilors must be degree holders for them to manage the increased Constituency Development Fund (CDF).
And House of Chiefs chairperson senior Chief Luembe says it is the CDF committee which is responsible for managing resources.
They were reacting to tweet from former Information Minister Dora Siliya that there was need for MPs to be degree holders now that CDF was hefty.
“CDF quantum increase fantastic. I have always argued for MPs and Councillors to be degree educated to manage district resources and development..can’t apply low standards to People’s high office,” tweeted Siliya, who is Jay Jay’s predecessor.
But in response, Jay Jay said Siliya was just frustrated because there were a lot of uneducated Zambians who were thriving and even hiring degree holders.
“Those are frustrated chaps who think that only people who are educated are the only ones who can push the agenda of development in the country. I will give you an example, a lot of people who are doing fine in Zambia are not even educated but they are able to run companies and employ people with degrees. Even in my capacity, I do not have a degree but I have got a diploma and I employ the same people who were saying councilors or MPs should be degree holders. I can even employ her and that is why I defeated her. It is because of the knowledge I have and the same knowledge is what made people trust us. Such calls must just be ignored,” Banda said.
“So even the same goes for councilors, for them to be voted into office shows that people had confidence in them. It is not just a degree holder who can do things and handle funds in a constituency. My company has got degree holders but I am the owner and I do not have a degree. I am able to run it and pay workers. The qualification is okay just the way it is at one being required to have a minimum of a grade 12 certificate. So as long as you have that qualification then you are equal to the task.”
Banda said having higher qualifications had nothing to do with the prudent utilisation of public resources.
“You know when you are frustrated and you lose elections when you least expect it, you start thinking in those lines. Having higher qualifications has got nothing to do with the utilisation of public resources. So these calls must just be ignored. Sometimes before you even analyse a situation, you are supposed to see where it is coming from,” said Banda.
“You know, when you lose, it is so painful and somehow you are a little bit confused. This increment in the CDF was what we were expecting. We were thinking it was a joke. In my opinion, I am sure this is a translation of power to the people. Right now everything has gone back to the people. Bricklayers, carpenters and other local people in the constituency will be given jobs and benefit from this.”
Meanwhile, House of Chiefs chairperson senior Chief Luembe said the CDF committee was responsible for managing resources.
“This mismanagement is something that has been an ongoing process in all the constituencies. We have had MPs who are PHD holders, degree holders and even just those with grade 12 certificates. We have had such MPs but I can assure you that CDF management is dependent on the constituency itself. What are the things that are lacking in that constituency? You do not need to hold a degree to know that there is a borehole that is needed in a particular village in a certain constituency. So to mention that you need a degree holder to manage K25.7 million is not right. It is not the councilor who is going to manage that money but there is a CDF committee which is managed by a qualified accountant in the council. The MP or councilor simply lobbies for projects to be implemented in a particular constituency and the CDF committee approves it,” said chief Luembe.