2)–CDF ‘corruption’ irks Mkushi NGOs

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The Civil Society for Poverty Reduction and the Development Association in Mkushi have accused the Mkushi District Council of alleged corrupt practices in the utilization of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).

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Civil Society for Poverty Reduction Mkushi Branch Coordinator Gershom Musonda says the manner in which the Mkushi Council is utilising CDF leaves much to be desired.

Mr. Musonda said the recent outcry by members of parliament that councils have become conduits of corruption was very true.

He accused the Mkushi District Council of implementing projects from CDF without consulting the community and other interest groups a situation which he said smells of corruption.

He said such developments have led to poor workmanship on most projects that have been implemented in the district.

Mr. Musonda  told ZANIS in an interview in Lusaka today that CDF funds are public funds that every citizenry has a stake in and hence the right to inquire on how it is being  utilized.

He said according to the CDF guidelines, councils are only supposed to play a supervisory role but that in instances where the council jumps the bandwagon, people start to suspect corruption.

Mr Musonda said one case in point is where the community in Mkushi applied for CDF to have a footbridge measuring 1.8 meters in width put up.

He alleged that the council went ahead to implement the project without consulting vital organs in the district and reduced the width from 1.8 meters to 1.5 meters and that when questions were asked, the council stated that they reduced the width of the bridge because the cost of materials was too high.

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Mr. Musonda said it is because of such issues that put the council and members of the community at conflict as there appears to be lack of trust between the two.

He said leaders from the civil society movement should not be accused of inciting people when they complain about matters of this nature.

Mr. Musonda said it is folly for the Mkushi District Council to accuse people who want to ensure that CDF funds are properly utilized of trying to incite the community to rise against them.

He also called on the council to consult citizens on the implementation of development projects to avoid wastage of funds and poor workmanship.

And Mkushi Development Association Chairperson Godfrey Kabanga accused the Mkushi Distrct Council of awarding contracts for various construction projects to contractors who have little experience in that field resulting in poor workmanship on many projects.

He cited the awarding of a contract for the construction of a public toilet at a cost of K77, 000 to a contract who has since abandoned the project as a case in point.

Mr. Kabanga told ZANIS in a separate interview that there is need for the Anti-Corruption Commission to visit the area to investigate alleged corrupt practices on how public funds have been utilized at Mkushi District Council.

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