Malawi’s 193 strong member National Assembly on Thursday unanimously passed a motion to allow government disburse for utilization all budgetary allocations under the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) in 2018/2019 within the first six months of the fiscal year, a period from July to December, 2018.
CDF helps many under resourced Members of Parliament (MPs) in Malawi implement some developmental projects including paying school fees and funeral expenses for their constituents.
A general election is due in the country May 2019 and the MPs are worried that they may not be able to track their CDF after December 2018 because they will be busy campaigning to return their seats.
Nkhotakota South East Parliamentarian, Makowa Mwale, moved the motion, noting that it is for the sake of the current Parliamentary term to be wound up most effectively.
Said Mwale, “CDF is money we are entitled to exhaustively use in redeeming our people from some of the developmental challenges they encounter. Lessons learnt from the past with regard to the utilization of the fund have prompted us to take this course”.
Apparently, it has emerged that some legislators are yet to get their three million kwacha CDF money for the last six months of the 2013/2014 financial year–the last time the country had another general election.
The Malawi National Assembly, known for cheers, interjections, jeers and point of orders, was strangely quiet, perhaps in silent agreement with Mwale as he read out a motion that squarely saught to promote their welfare.
Dowa North broke the silence with a seconder to the motion, followed by Ntchisi North.
Then Mzimba North East Law Maker, Olipa Muyaba Chiluba rose, saying she wholeheartedly supported the motion.
“I have a lot of unfinished projects in my constituency. If all this money could come at once in the first six months, the better,” she told Nyasa Times.
Chiluba cited school blocks, boreholes, bridges and roads as some of the projects she needed to finish as she figures out to return her seat next year.
On her part, vocal Dedza East MP Juliana Lunguzi observed that CDF is the only fund that would leave a Parliamentarian with something to show off after their term, emphasizing that all the money should indeed be disbursed in the first half of the year.