By Nyasha Ngonidzshe Mukapiko
Many youths are wrapped in blanket of darkness as nobody even bothered to tell them of the non-existence of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) that was first introduced in the inclusive Government era meant to help legislators’ foster development in their constituencies.
Infrastructure development was one of the major projects to be spearheaded by these Government grants, notably among them drilling of boreholes, school repairs and many others. It is not a secret that the CDF initiative could also create jobs for youths, engagement while cementing relations between communities and their MPs.
Fred Mushaninga is a youth from the suburb of High-field under High-field West constituency, he hardly remembers any tangible work being implemented through CDF.
“We don’t even know if our Member of Parliament was given the money, we don’t have jobs and we are wallowing in abject poverty. If the money had been availed it could have helped to create employment for many since it is centered on constituency development”, Fred lamented.
MP for Mutasa Central constituency Trevor Saruvaka confirmed yesterday that the CDF money was last availed some years back. Fred was not furnished with the information that the CDF grants have been in extinction for years.
Though there have been allegations of embezzlement of funds when the CDF was released the other obvious other reason is that treasury is depressed as previously witnessed last year in December through late payment of salaries and bonuses. The probability is there, though of a very small margin that the CDF will be reintroduced back after MP for Mutasa South Irene Zindi moved a motion in Parliament last year, but its likely after the CDF bill has been approved by the Cabinet Committee on Legislation and signed into law.
In response, Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa who also doubles as the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs said when the CDF was first introduced, there was no legislation to govern or regulate its implementation hence the misuse. The Herald newspaper on the 14th of July 2014 reported on a story that Government was going to descend on CDF looters who were more than 20 although the names were not revealed.
In 2012 four MPs were arrested by the Anti-Corruption Commission on charges of abusing CDF. Many legislators are shying away from their constituencies with most election-promises yet to be honored. The reintroduction of CDF will go a long way in building the broken relationships and can also help to ease unemployment among youths.