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CDF not a campaign tool – minister

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The Constituency Development Fund (CDF) was never meant to boost MPs’ political campaigns, the Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs, Eric Matinenga, has said.

Matinenga told the Senate during last Thursday’s question-and-answer session in the Upper House that contrary to MPs’ assertions that CDF was meant to boost their election campaigns through projects, it was actually meant to allow communities to determine and decide what kind of developments they wanted in their areas.

The minister was responding to questions by senators who wanted to know why they had been left out when MPs in the House of Assembly were each allocated $50 000 for constituency development in 2010.

“The senator is not removed from the function of CDF and I have always said what we need to do is to see to it that there is sufficient consultation, and sufficient communication between the senator, MP and councillor so that everybody involved is aware of the development thrust of what is happening in that particular constituency,” said Matinenga.

“There has been a perception that the CDF is supposed to make the MP visible and to prop up that legislator so that he uses that fund as a campaigning tool.Madam President and members, let me in my humble submission, debunk that myth because what is important in the whole thrust of this fund is to make sure that local communities participate in the developmental projects of their respective areas.”

Matinenga said members of the community were supposed to decide what they wanted to do with the CDF, led by MPs and other senior leaders.

The minister said it was ideal to put a legislative framework in place to force MPs to consult everybody on how to use CDF.

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