HARARE – Parliament is re-introducing the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), with National Assembly Speaker Jacob Mudenda advising legislators to submit input into the draft CDF Bill before the end of this month.
“I have to advise members that copies of the draft CDF have been placed in your pigeon holes. Members are requested to study the Constitution and submit their input to counsel to Parliament’s Office, Number 306, Third Floor, by the end of day on Friday, 29th September, 2017.
“Members are urged to treat this as a matter of urgency so that we can move forward in order to put in place the CDF Fund,” Mudenda said.
The fund was first introduced by former Finance minister Tendai Biti, in 2010.
A year after it was unveiled, the fund collapsed due to budgetary constraints and the absence of a legal framework to govern it.
At the time, a number of MPs were accused of misusing the fund.
About four legislators were arrested by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, and appeared in court facing charges of abusing the fund.
The cases later fizzled out because there was no proper legal framework to successfully prosecute the culprits.
Government is now seeking to reintroduce the fund through the CDF Bill which is meant to curtail abuse of the facility. Each of the legislators will get $50 000 under the CDF.
Government battled to raise $180 million to pay civil servants their 2016 bonuses. It, therefore, remains a mystery where it would get the money to fund the CDF.
About $10,5 million would be required for allocation to the 210 lawmakers in Parliament. Out of the 210 MPs, Zanu PF has 169 lawmakers.
With less than 12 months left before the 2018 elections, it also remains to be seen if the MPs would engage in any meaningful projects.