Zim MPs the poorer cousins of Kenyan MPs

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Felix Mhona

ZIMBABWEAN MPs are grossly underfunded compared to their Kenyan counterparts who receive Constituency Development Funds (CDF) of $1 million per financial year, when their Zimbabwean counterparts this year received a measly $180 000 in the 2020 national budget.

BY VENERANDA LANGA

The issue was revealed in a recent report by the Budget and Finance Parliamentary Portfolio Committee led by Felix Mhona (Zanu PF) which visited Kenya in 2019 on a benchmarking visit.

Yesterday, Mhona confirmed that while their East African counterparts were well taken care of in terms of CDF, Zimbabwean MPs only received $50 000 in 2018, $175 000 in 2019 and $180 000 this year for projects to develop their constituencies.

“The delegation established that for the year 2018 to 2019, each MP (Kenya) got an equivalent of US$1 090 408 as CDF,” the report read.

“The amount is not fixed and it varies depending on the approved budget for the ensuing year,” the report said.

Zimbabwean MPs during the year 2019, only received $175 000 which is too little given the high inflation levels in the country.

Norton MP Themba Mliswa (independent) recently called on government to allocate extra money to MPs towards CDF so that they can assist their constituencies to combat the COVID-19 scourge.

While Zimbabwean MPs in 2011 abused CDF funds, the resources are now managed under very strict guidelines where the projects selected are scrutinised, and there is need for a constituency committee to be set up to handle the CDF transactions, thereby promoting accountability.

The committee report said in Kenya, the planning and budgeting for CDF was done at national level under the national government.

Kambuzuma MP Willias Madzimure (MDC Alliance), a member of the Budget Committee, said it was difficult for Zimbabwean MPs to implement any meaningful projects with the paltry $50 000 they received.

“In Kenya, they have a CDF board and there is an office in the constituency which is well-equipped with staff. They account for every cent. The MPs have built community halls and schools fully funded by CDF. In Zimbabwe, even with the little money that we are given, there must be enough money to ensure that there is an office in the constituency and at least someone who accounts for the CDF. MPs are not accountants and that is why you find auditors saying that MPs have misused money,” Madzimure said.