The setting up of Constituency Development Fund [CDF] by Parliament was an innovative way of spearheading development in the rural areas. We have fresh memories of how it was resisted initially because of the perception that it was meant to serve some political interests.
However after proper communication, the Fund has become acceptable. It has helped people get good results in areas where public leaders have understood the proper procedures to follow when using the money.
The Fund has helped communities develop some infrastructures such as bridges, school blocks, health centres closer to the people who would otherwise fail to access such facilities. The success of this initiative has led to the recent calls for the increase of the money into the Fund.
The true merit of this initiative is the direct involvement of the people in undertaking the projects, which gives them a sense of ownership of the accomplished facilities. The aspect of project ownership has many benefits such as deterring any form of vandalism.
However the news that some Members of Parliament are flouting procedures is just too unacceptable and unpardonable. The CDF is financed by taxpayers, the people who choose leaders to run their affairs. Our political leaders are supposed to be conversant with the words "accountability" and "transparency" and practice them. They should realise that every Kwacha from the public purse must be spent on intended purposes following laid out procedures.
It should be cleared that procuring goods without consulting concerned parties at any level is a dishonourable act which cannot be tolerated under any circumstances.
Our leaders must be exemplary and treat public funds with care to help such funds meet the needs of the public. It is clear that the cool response at the initial launch of the CDF was due to lack of trust by the people on their elected leaders.
Our leaders must work hard to earn this trust which when lost they risk curtailing their political lives. We are looking for responsible leaders who have integrity to help the nation move forward.