IT is heart-warming to hear that the government has, so far, disbursed K5.5 billion from the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) to deserving beneficiaries some of whom could previously not have access to the resources.
What this shows is that public resources are working for the people and this is how it should have been all along.
CDF is, indeed, the flagship programme of the United Party for National Development (UPND) government which came into office in August 2021 with a promise to provide servant leadership.
What servant leadership entails is that the people at the grass-root must make their own decisions about the priorities in their various localities as opposed a centralised system in which leaders from a country’s capital city think on behalf of the people.
Servant leadership has been actualised by devolving power from the central government to constituency level where the local people in the 156 constituencies dotted around Zambia are deciding about projects that should be prioritised.
Since the CDF was increased from a meagre K1.6 million to, initially, K25.7 million in the UPND government’s presentation of its national budget in 2021 and, later, K28 million, a lot of people, in constituencies led by both the UPND and opposition members of Parliament (MPs), have benefitted.
By disbursing K5.5 billion CDF so far, what this means is that the Zambian people, regardless of their political persuasion, are all benefiting from their money and more is still to come.
Ministry of Local Development Permanent Secretary technical services Nicholas Phiri who disclosed this said the Government disbursed a total of K4 billion in 2022 and K1.54 billion as of July 2023 towards the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).
During the time of the Patriotic Front, this was unheard of and CDF was being used as a bait for opposition MPs to ditch their political parties and join the governing party so that their constituencies could begin benefitting from the resources.
Thankfully, this discrimination is a thing of the past and should never ever be entertained again nor should the Zambian people ever be hoodwinked into believing that a political party that practiced such discriminatory and divisive politics has reformed.
It is said old habits die hard and that once beaten twice shy.
So, the Zambian people should continue looking forward and hope that, in future, CDF is increased even more so that by the time the UPND finish their first five-year term in office, the whole landscape of country will have changed massively.
It was previously unimaginable that there would come a time when youths would be granted bursaries at constituency level for their secondary school and tertiary education.
Now, this is happening in every constituency.
Just a few days ago, the Chibombo Town Council issued a notice inviting applications for all components of CDF for the year 2024 and the categories include community projects, empowerment skills, secondary school bursaries, empowerment grants and loans.
This is how it should be, instead of a few people in Lusaka sharing national resources with their friends and relatives while the rest of the citizens experience hardships.