EDITORIAL COMMENT: MPs should put people first
WE greeted reports that a majority of our Parliamentarians have failed to meet the criteria to access the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) with shock, repugnance and indignation.
Such conduct is an exhibition that the generality of the population placed their hopes on people who have fallen victim to the trappings of their Parliamentarian offices and are now sleeping on duty.
In a front page story carried by our sister paper, Chronicle on Saturday the Speaker of Parliament, Advocate Jacob Mudenda revealed that only two out of the 129 applications made for the CDF were approved.
Adv Mudenda said that was because those two fully complied with the CDF constitution and the accounting officers’ manual, and also submitted their project list, as well as the estimated cost for their identified projects.
Adv Mudenda encouraged the legislators to take the matter seriously for the development of their constituencies.
According to the story, Parliament has reserved $50 000 for each legislator for development initiatives in their constituencies, but access is only guaranteed after complying with the provisions of the fund.
“Honourable members, you are urged to attend to this matter urgently. This is your advantage in promoting development in your constituencies,” advised Adv Mudenda.
We could not agree more with Adv Mudenda that the legislators should take development in their constituencies seriously. Are these not the same people who in the run-up to the elections promise heaven on earth to the masses.
Now that they have received manna in the form of the $50 000 CDF money, they fail just to follow the procedures of accessing the much needed funding.
It is just disappointing that people who are tasked with crafting laws for the country are failing to meticulously follow provisions that would see their areas of jurisdiction getting the much needed funding to spur developmental projects.
Some of the MPs are known loud mouths who are quick to blame the Government claiming that the national cake is not evenly shared and when they are presented with such low hanging fruits they are found wanting.
By so doing they are letting down their areas of jurisdiction which are crying out loud for developmental projects.
Most parts of our country are crying out loud for upgraded infrastructure such as roads, schools and boreholes which are critical to the survival of the people. The CDF was going to come in handy in the developmental projects in the constituencies.
It is against this background that we call upon our legislators to stop abdicating their duties and move with speed in accessing the CDF as time is fast running out before the tenure of this Parliament comes to an end.
The MPs should be wary of the fact that elections are just around the corner and soon their constituents would be asking them difficult questions with regards to their time in Parliament.
It is in the public domain that the role of Parliament is to improve the efficiency, economy, and effectiveness of Government operations, evaluate programmes and performance in the country.
The legislature is also meant to detect and prevent poor administration, waste, abuse, arbitrary and capricious behaviour, or illegal and unconstitutional conduct as well as protect civil liberties and constitutional rights.
So we urge our Parliamentarians to move with speed and access the CDF so that communities benefit. The MPs should stop this habit of always thinking about themselves first and put the interests of the areas they represent ahead of personal glory.
They should not forget that they are in Parliament on the benevolence and trust of the electorate.