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MPs must account for development fund

By Vision Reporter

Added 3rd November 2009 03:00 AM

LEADERS attending a parliamentary seminar on the role of MPs last week, called for the abolition of the annual constituency development fund (CDF) given to MPs. It was argued that the sh10m was too little to create an impact in a constituency and distract

LEADERS attending a parliamentary seminar on the role of MPs last week, called for the abolition of the annual constituency development fund (CDF) given to MPs.

It was argued that the sh10m was too little to create an impact in a constituency and distracts MPs from their cardinal role of legislation.

Among the seven roles of Parliament spelt out in Article 77 (1) of the Constitution of Uganda is; making laws on any matter for peace, order, development and good governance.

MPs are also mandated to scrutnise the various objects of expenditure and the sums to be spent on Government projects. They are also required to ensure transparency and accountability in the application of public funds.

The participants’ argument is pertinent. The CDF should be scrapped because, although the money comes from the consolidated fund, it is not properly accounted for as the Constitution requires. Instead, MPs have gone out of their way to market themselves as philanthropists who provide school fees, wedding contributions, funeral expenses, salt and soap.

It is also common for MPs to promise constituents tamacked roads, health services and clean water. If they could do all these from their private resources, it would be a job well done.

However, expecting to use the CDF to fund all those obligations is ridiculous and dishonest. This money, however little, does not belong to individual MPs and should, therefore, not be used as if it was personal money.

The MPs are willing victims to their constituents because they don’t tell them the truth. By making endless promises, they are buying voters’ favours with public money! The result is that they misappropriate the CDF.

The way forward is that MPs should stick to what is expected of them by the Constitution. If there must be CDF, it should be channelled through sub-counties and properly audited for development projects. However, before the CDF is scrapped, all MPs must account for the money they have already taken.

MPs must account for development fund

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