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Filed under: Latest News,Politics,Special Comments |

Listening to the explanation by the Honourable Minister of Finance Dr. Situmbeko Musokotwane’s Sunday interview on 31st October, 2021, on CDF and how the so-called new dawn government intends to operationalize it, I was left wondering with awe. The CDF has been increased from K1.6 million per constituency to K25.7 million per each constituency.

According to the minister of finance the fund will now be used for constituency development projects as before, youth and women empowerment and bursaries. All this will be administered and managed by the constituency with the member of parliament as head.

It is important to point out that the constituency office does not have any management team or trained staff at all. There is no administrative structure at the constituency.

At most, the member of parliament in a rural setup with a grade 12 certificate would be the most educated person at the constituency office or even in the entire community. But the MP also represents something else.

He/ she is the representative of government and, therefore, what is referred to in legal parlance as the person in authority. Again, particularly in a rural constituency, the MP’s word is the word of God and hence final in deed and truth. To cross the path of such repository of power is to court trouble for oneself.

It is in this given scenario that the Minister of Finance wants to convince the nation that CDF projects youth and women empowerment projects and bursaries of this K25.7 million programme will be fairly and equitably disbursed to the intended beneficiaries.

As a politician from the ruling party especially, the MP is under pressure to respond to the din from his party members for jobs as a preference to the rest so that him and Bally can miraculously retain power in 2026. Fairness and equity cannot be the yard stick of his judgment in the administration of CDF.

Accountability to the local community is non-existent. As we have seen in the past, this is time for the MP to make money using Phoney companies through his Kith and Kin.

The traditional administration of the bursary scheme from Lusaka has been fraught with corruption and favouritism.

In a good number of cases, bursaries went to those who could actually afford to pay tuition fees and not the needy. According to the new dawn government, this is now decentralised to the constituency because the local people know what is best for the community.

But everybody in our peri-urban areas, informal settlements and countryside is a person in need and vulnerable from the dimension of all economic indices. All pupils therefore, are entitled to a bursary as a matter of right which requires no form of selective evaluation whatsoever.

This was the campaign promise by the UPND. What is being proposed now is a selective bursary system and this is not sonorous with free education.

The 2022 budget approach to this chronic problem in our educational system is, therefore, a betrayal of the poor people in our society after UPND assuming power riding on the backs of our youth and their wretched parents whom they persuaded to vote for them.

The UPND is now decentralising corruption and injustice from the centre to the periphery. Like the adage goes, if you want to know the character of a man give him power.

With power in their hands, we are beginning to see the true character of the UPND but we are hopeful that 2026 is coming and coming soon.


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