Legislators Accused of Continued Abuse of CDF

Local development structures have bemoaned continued abuse of the Constituency Development Funds (CDF) by parliamentarians.

At a cross-learning workshop convened by the Malawi Economics Justice Network (MEJN), representatives of Area Development Committees (ADCs) from Dowa, Mulanje and Zomba also faulted local councils for accepting CDF forms without verifying their authenticities.

Since the introduction of the CDF, nine years ago there have been reports of abuse of the fund by legislators who have a final say on projects under the CDF.

Auditors have been visiting constituencies and councils following reports of CDF abuse, but no tangible results of such audits have been seen yet as no parliamentarian has been reprimanded.

Secretary for Nkumbira ADC in Zomba Chisi Constituency Roman Uledi said when it comes to implementation of CDF projects MPs shun official structures and opt to work with political leaders.

“We are not involved in the implementation of CDF projects and the MPs opt to work with political party governors,” said Mr. Uledi.

On his part, Lawrence Vito from Njema ADC in Mulanje Limbuli Constituency said councils are also to blame for accepting CDF forms without verifying their authenticity.

He alleged that some MPs withdraw money from CDF with no projects on the ground and they even forge signatures of ADC leaders to obtain money and abuse them.

“Our signatures are forged when withdrawing monies for ghost CDF projects and councils are also to blame for accepting CDF forms without verifying their authenticityies,” said Mr. Vito.

Secretary for Mkukula ADC in Dowa South Constituency Reuben Mtepatepa said there is bad blood between ADCs and MPs which affects transparency and accountability in CDF projects.

However, Parliamentarian for Mulanje Limbuli Constituency Daud

Chida said some ADCs are just too greedy and they want to benefit personally from the CDF and not community development.

“What I see here is greed in the ADC leadership such that they want individual benefits from the CDF and not community development,” said Mr. Chida.

Mulanje Bale Parliamentarian Victor Musowa told Zodiak recently that his hands are clean on CDF and he challenged anyone doubting to crosscheck with the community he serves and the council secretariat.

“When it comes to CDF management, I can assure you that my hands are clean and you can verify this with the community I serve and the council secretariat,” said Mr. Musowa.

MEJN Executive Director Dalitso Kubalasa said the ADCs and VDCs should be more proactive and question any anomaly they notice in the implementation of the CDF projects.

“Let me challenge ADCs and VDCs to be proactive and question any anomaly in the implementation of the CDF projects,” said Mr. Kubalasa.

Mr. Kubalasa said abuse of the CDF is common in most constituencies but said this should not deter the ADCs and VDCs from executing their oversight role in project implementation.