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Parliamentary Monitor: Issue 2
Monitoring Trust (Zimbabwe)
August 22, 2011
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Good Intentions, Bad Implementation
Development Fund, a case of a brilliant initiative which has gone
wrong! With more than 100 Members of Parliament failing to account
for how they used US$50 000 drawn under CDF, it is evident that
some of the legislatures thought this was one of those benefits
they can abuse. Investigations by PMT Zimbabwe have shown that there
are areas of concern raised by communities over the implementation
of CDF. In most cases, the communities said they were not consulted
by their respective House of Assembly representative on which initiatives
to take. Consultation, by both governmental and non governmental
players, remains a grey area in initiating development in Zimbabwe
and the implementation of CDF has also gone to show this. The results?
White elephants, irrelevant development initiatives and duplication
of initiative as was the case in one constituency where the MP bought
a water tank for a school which already have enough reservoirs.
“We could have done better with say more pipes to supply water
to teachers’ houses,” the headmaster of the school said.
It was also evident that despite having been representatives for
more than two years, some of the MPs did not have a clear developmental
agenda for their constituencies. There were cases of MPs rushing
to prepare irrelevant proposals in a bid to draw down on the fund
with no significant changes to the communities. Apart from the lack
f consultations it has also been shown that in implementing CDF,
MPs used the fund as a an instrument of patronage. In some cases,
the MPs used it as a to the people that they had sourced funds for
development. The truth is these were government fund. In some cases,
the media failed to play a critical role in mentioning that this
development in initiative was part of the implementation of CDF.
It was very unclear in the electronic media how the MP sourced US$50
000. MPs also used this as a carrot lying there was no clarity on
what the fund was all about and who had made resources available.
Some of the MPs who had not done anything used it as a form of payback
to those who supported their bid for election in 2008. The result?
There were impromptu projects some of them very unsustainable while
others were irrelevant to the aspirations of the communities. In
some constituencies, it was clear that some of the communities were
not aware what was happening referring to some of the projects as
councilor so and so’s effort. There are a number of lessons
learnt from the implementation of CDF and to avoid the same pitfalls
both MPs and government should take note of some of the issues raised
by constituencies. It is important that after the full implementation
of CDF round 1, there is proper monitoring and evaluation of the
projects undertaken. It is important to note that despite the apprehension
expressed by MPs when Finance Minister Tendai Biti announced CDF
during the presentation of the 2010
budget access has been open.
It is important
to note that CDF was the first time that government introduced a
specific fund for constituencies as prior to this, decentralised
project funding from the fiscus was through local government structures
especially at provincial and district levels. This deviation from
the structured approach, which had proven a failure, generated interest
amongst communities, MPs, the central government and civic society.
CDF is not unique to Zimbabwe as it was also introduced (in 2003)
in Kenya through an Act of Parliament though. Decentralisation in
Zimbabwe has presented a number of problems and the institution
of CDF was aimed at addressing development in the country and at
the same time surmount the problems presented by decentralized development.
Problems presented by decentralized development include the conflict
between political leaders and administrators, the elected members
of parliament and district administrators (DAs). A comparative analysis
between Zimbabwe and Kenya (where CDF has also been implemented)
shows that there are administrative and structural differences between
the two. Kenya introduced CDF in 2003 and there is an independent
organ that looks at the administration of the fund unlike our case
here. This fund is also a creation of an Act of Parliament and a
certain percentage (2.5%) of the budget goes into CDF. In Zimbabwe,
the Ministry of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs administers
the fund. A lot can be learnt from Kenya’s implementation
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