THE Speaker of Parliament, Edward Ssekandi, has clarified that the Constituency Development Fund for the MPs is still in existence. The announcement came amidst reports that the Parliament Budget Committee had re-allocated sh3.2b to the Parliament Commission for the Constituency Development Fund (CD
The CDF was started in 2005. Under the scheme MPs are each supposed to receive sh10m annually to support development activities in their respective constituencies. It is up to the discretion of the MP to decide which activities to support. The MPs argued that they were financially overstretched by the incessant demands of their constituents. They therefore argued that they needed the money to cushion them and to contribute to local socio-economic projects.
Many MPs in the previous Parliament, however, never accounted for the money. And this was not surprising at all. It is obvious MPs regarded the money as personal and therefore, used it to meet private expenditure. Many MPs must have used the money to finance their political activities, including election campaigns. Even in the neighbouring Kenya, the CDF has been a mess. This is in spite of the fact that Kenya has elaborate guidelines relating to use of the CDF. According to investigations carried out by the Kenyan media, Kenya MPs have used the funds to dish out favours to their relatives and supporters.
The CDF should be scrapped. It is an unjustified drain to the national treasury and an unnecessary burden to the taxpayer. Furthermore, under the previous Movement political system, it was understandable to set up such a scheme for MPs. With the multiparty system now in place, MPs are elected on the basis of their Partyâ€™s programmes and not on their own â€œindividual meritâ€.
Scrap MPâ€™s constituency fund