More than two-thirds of Zimbabwe’s legislators have not yet applied for Constituency Development Funds meant to fund projects in their constituencies, Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda said yesterday.
Mudenda said only 68 out of the 210 constituency legislators had applied for the funds meaning that 142 had not yet although Parliament was now into the third quarter of its ninth session.
Mudenda said 67 members did not apply for the funds in 2019 and 20 in 2018.
“I am aware that the money is not the right amount but surely it can be put to good use in the constituencies that you represent especially now during COVID-19, the period when schools and clinics are in need of PPEs, sanitisers, extra chairs and desks. I urge all Hon. Members who have not applied for their CDF allocation to do so as a matter of urgency,” Mudenda said.
Mbizo legislator Settlement Chikwinya said they had budgeted in US dollars but were being given Zimbabwe dollars so the money was too little to embark on any meaningful projects.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Members, it has been brought to my attention that although we are now in the third quarter of our Ninth Session, only 68 members have applied for the 2020 Constituency Development Fund (CDF). Statistics show that 142 members have not applied for the year 2020; 67 Hon. Members did not apply for the 2019 allocations and 20 did not apply for the 2018 allocation.
I am aware that the money is not the right amount but surely it can be put to good use in the constituencies that you represent especially now during COVID-19, the period when schools and clinics are in need of PPEs, sanitisers, extra chairs and desks. I urge all Hon. Members who have not applied for their CDF allocation to do so as a matter of urgency. May I request the Whips to assist in following up on the Hon. Members of their political parties. Are there any Notices of Motions?
HON. CHIKWINYA: On a point of order Mr. Speaker! Thank you Hon. Speaker, good afternoon. Hon. Speaker, when we budgeted for the CDF and I want to indulge you on the point of the CDF,we budgeted in USD$ and it was being paid in RTGs and with the devaluing of our local currency against the USD$, I propose that the amount be converted at the prevailing bank auction rate so that at least we can do meaningful developments in our constituencies.
THE HON. SPEAKER: Hon. Member, I thought you were going to be bold enough to castigate your fellow members who have not accessed that money at the material time. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections.] – That is the first thing. On one hand, you say our welfare is not being taken care of, there are delays in disbursements and so on, when there are so many of you who have not even bothered to have applied – 142 is a huge number – [HON. CHIKWINYA: It speaks of something also!] – Order! If it speaks of something, why was this not raised at the material time?
The responsibility is yours to make the adjustments accordingly – [HON. SIKHALA: On a point of order!] – Order! I am still speaking please take your seat. You must be procedural. At the material time, if there were issues around this CDF as Hon. Chikwinya has raised then it was up to you to deal with the adjustments through your proposals but no proposals came forward.