THE FIGHT FOR CDF FUNDS | Female proportional representative MPs are demanding to be given money from the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), which is allocated to legislators to develop their constituencies by government.
This comes as Parliament recently released $5 million towards the Fund, despite grave concerns about abuse of the money by some legislators. The legislators raised the concern after opposition MDC vice president Nelson Chamisa presented the CDF constitution in National Assembly last week.
MDC Matebeleland North proportional representative Lwazi Sibanda was the first to raise the issue, saying they must have access to CDF.
“We are equally the same, hence we make the request that as women representatives, we should be included in this budget so that we are able to deal with the issues that affect women,” she argued.
“The majority of our population is made up of women. They are the mainstay of the country. As female Members of Parliament, we should also be able to access the CDF so that we are able to develop our country because mothers are the mainstay of the country.
All Members of Parliament that are on Proportional Representation in the National Assembly as well as in the Senate should be given a chance to access the CDF funds.”
The propositional representatives, who have no constituencies, are chosen by parties for the purpose of gender equality in the National Assembly.
MDC Bulawayo proportional representative Dorothy Molly Ndlovu weighed in: “What we are saying is that we have bigger constituencies, when I say I am a Member of Parliament for Bulawayo Metropolitan, I am invited by all women in the metropolitan province and deal with their issues. So these women are important and they should be seen accessing the CDF. We are equally important, if not more than those that have constituencies.”
Bulawayo MDC proportional representative MP Thokozani Khupe added: “The Member raised the point that there are women who sit in the Standing Rules and Orders Committee, who should have raised this issue. In the Standing Rules and Orders, it is clear that a Member of Parliament is a Member of Parliament regardless of them being Proportional Representatives or whatever.”
However, Parliament’s Legal and Procedural Affairs committee turned down the proposal, saying CDF money is not for the benefit of the MP and therefore, MPs who are not Constituency MPs are not prejudiced in any way.