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‘Parly must administer constituency fund’

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Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma told NewsDay last week the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) should, under normal circumstances, be administered by Parliament and not the Executive as is currently the case.

Zvoma said the CDF was a parliamentary function and ought to be administered by the august House.
“First of all, the Clerk of Parliament is not looking to augment his duties as he has enough of them, and the Clerk of Parliament does not define his duties or choose which duties to perform,” said Zvoma.

“Parliament is one of the three arms of the State — the Executive, Judiciary and the Legislature — and it has supremacy in as far as it relates to its legislative function, as well as playing an oversight and representative role, and in effecting that, it should not seem to want to govern.”

Zvoma continued: “The CDF talks about constituencies and those belong to MPs who are elected and MPs go to Parliament, not the Executive to perform their roles. They (MPs) also get their resources from Parliament, they get salaries from Parliament and in performing their duties they are governed by Parliament’s Standing Rules and Orders, and are also given stationery and offices by Parliament.”

He said research papers for MPs were also done at Parliament and all the working conditions of MPs pointed to Parliament.

“What appears to be an anomaly is that the CDF suddenly, and without consulting Parliament – and without taking into account these other regulations and support services — suddenly mushroomed from somewhere else under the Ministry of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs.”

He said he had expected the fund to operate from Constituency Information Centres which were under Parliament.

“The Ministry of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs is under the Executive and Parliament is independent and the Executive should not seem to be like Parliament and likewise Parliament should not seem to want to govern,” he said.

Zvoma said if good corporate governance was exercised in this case, the CDF would be a function of Parliament.

“The State should clearly demarcate the roles of the Executive and Parliament and this is not just my view, but it is a view also shared by others in Parliament,” he said.

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