By NQOBANI NDLOVU
SPEAKER of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda yesterday expressed dismay over the low uptake of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), saying Parliament was in the process of crafting a law to ensure MPs utilise CDF funds.
He labelled the MPs as lazy, adding that they had no compelling reasons for rejecting CDF which are meant to develop their constituencies.
In his 2020 budget statement, Finance minister Mthuli Ncube allocated $200 000 to each MP for CDF so that MPs carry out projects in their constituencies.
Last month, Mudenda disclosed that only 68 MPs out of the 210 had applied for the 2020 CDF funds.
Mudenda then hinted that there might be need to force MPs to apply for the funds.
“As of now, we have 91 MPs from Zanu PF who have not taken CDF. We also have 50 from the MDC Alliance who have not taken CDF. The uptake is very poor. The public must ask them why they are not taking the money,” Mudenda told NewsDay.
“However, we are now crafting a law to deal with some lazy MPs. We want to ensure that there is a legal provision to ensure that the uptake improves. We are crafting a law to that effect so that the uptake is expeditious.”
Mudenda said Parliament was also pushing for a review of the current CDF amounts in light of inflation.
Some MPs have in the past been accused of abusing the CDF funds or diverting them for personal use or to fund their personal political campaigns.
While the Speaker raised concern over the poor uptake of the CDF, analysts have also questioned the calibre of parliamentarians as some of them have been exposed for being mum during parliamentary debates.
Analyst Mbuso Fuzwayo said: “There must be some provisions to allow the electorate to recall some of the poorly-performing MPs.
“In the case of Bulawayo, while that money could be little in the face of inflation, it could have gone a long way to buy Jojo tanks to assist residents who face water shortages.”