MP accuses govt of insincerity over CDF

via MP accuses govt of insincerity over CDF – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 24, 2015 by Veneranda Langa

HARARE West legislator Jessie Majome on Tuesday accused government of not being sincere on resuscitating the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) following its failure to introduce the Constituency Development Fund Bill before Parliament.

Majome was contributing to a debate on a motion on the Presidential speech when she raised issues of Bills that Mugabe had previously announced would be tabled in Parliament for crafting, but were never brought before the House.

She reminded Parliament that Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa had announced in his 2015 National Budget statement that he was going to inject money into the CDF, but had not lived up to his promise.

“Mr Speaker, there is no mention at all of the CDF Bill, which is really odd because in the last budget, the Minister of Finance, who happens to be sitting across me, even said he had made an allocation for the CDF for MPs to go and utilise in their own constituencies,” Majome said.

“However, I am starting to wonder whether the minister was trying to pull a fast one on the legislators so that we could be happy and approve the budget,” she said.

During the official opening of the Eighth Session of Parliament in September 2013, President Robert Mugabe announced that a CDF Bill would be tabled before Parliament, but two years down the line nothing has been done to that effect.

“Numerous complaints have been raised over alleged abuse of resources from the CDF by some members of the previous Parliament. To engender transparency and accountability in the handling of resources, a CDF Bill shall be tabled in Parliament during this session. MPs of this new Parliament should take note that the law will descend heavily on all those who will abuse the fund,” Mugabe was quoted as saying then.

In this year’s National Budget statement, Chinamasa promised to allocate $50 000 per constituency to spearhead developmental projects.
“I am, therefore, setting aside $10,5 million for the purpose of the CDF in the 2015 National Budget,” Chinamasa said.

In March this year, during the National Assembly question and answer session, Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa also told MPs that the CDF Bill was about to be gazetted and presented before Parliament.

The envisaged Bill is intended to regulate the use of funds for constituency development by MPs.

In 2011, four MPs were investigated and arrested for abuse of their CDF allocations, but later freed after it emerged that Parliament had not crafted enabling legislation to safeguard the fund.