Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter—
Parliament has adopted tough guidelines that will be used in the utilisation of Constituency Development Fund as part of measures to enhance accountability and curb abuse of the fund by legislators. The guidelines include the nature of development projects that could be embarked upon and the involvement of administration of Parliament among other measures. These were announced by legal and procedure sub-committee of the Standing Rules and Orders committee chairperson Advocate Nelson Chamisa while moving a motion to have the guidelines adopted in the National Assembly last week.
“We have prescribed the type of projects that we are supposed to undertake because in previous circumstances, we would have Members of Parliament even paying lobola using CDF or doing other things that are not supposed to be done elsewhere using the Fund,” said Adv Chamisa, who is also Kuwadzana East Member of Parliament. He said the objective of the fund was to deal with development and poverty alleviation.
Adv Chamisa said any legislator who would want to undertake projects outside that remit would require permission from the management committee of that fund constituted by Senators, Proportionate Representative MPs, councillors, traditional leaders among others. “The first one is construction, repairs and maintenance of borders of boreholes and wells for rural areas. The second one is repairing, construction and maintenance of schools, clinics, dip tanks, particularly in the rural areas,” he said.
Adv Chamisa said other projects included construction of infrastructure and purchase of generators for use in schools. Others included community income-generating projects to be defined by the CDF committee. “We had to prescribe because some would buy generators, but use them in other houses not consistent with where they are supposed to be used. So we are very clear, it has to be in schools, clinics and other related institutions that benefit the constituency,” said Adv Chamisa.
“In terms of accountability, it has to be the Member of Parliament who is then supposed to account to the Ministry (of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs) to Parliament and also to the constituency itself in general,” said Adv Chamisa.
He said there shall be a management committee to administer the fund and would be constituted by Deputy Clerk of Parliament, principal finance director of Parliament, director of research and counsel to Parliament. “Their duty is basically to manage the transaction of the fund from the ministry to the account of the constituency,” said Adv Chamisa. Other committees included the procurement committee to deal with purchase of goods and services.