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‘Ignorance on LDF, CDF derailing development’

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Traditional leaders in Balaka have said ignorance on Local Development Fund (LDF) and Constituency Development Fund (CDF) has negatively affected development as duty-bearers capitalise on the lack of knowledge to impose development projects on the people.

Speaking in Balaka during the week when NGO Gender Coordination Network (NGOGCN) held orientation meetings with beneficiaries on local governance socio-economic development, some chiefs expressed surprise that CDF and LDF are meant for development in local communuties and not money for members of Parliament’s exclusive use.

Sub-Traditional Authority Kachenga said she had been of the view that CDF money was for MPs to implement projects of their choice within the constituency.

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“It is actually a shock to learn that guidelines on CDF are very clear that the money cannot be used without consulting beneficiaries who are local people,” she said.

Group Village Head Chulu said councillors and parliamentarians have capitalised on the ignorance to lie to the people that it is them that bring money for development.

“This is our money as stakeholders of CDF and LDF since it starts at village, group, area before district level and so we should own the development by initiating it and not being dictated to by duty-bearers,” he said.

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Chulu also said a lot of projects in the area had stalled since government changed hands yet CDF could have been utilised to complete such projects.

Group Head Toleza said both parliamentarians and councillors campaigned on the premise that CDF was theirs yet they are just a conduit through which the money gets to the people.

“We have now been empowered on CDF and LDF and we will be taking them to task to account for the funds which are meant for the people to decide on what it should be spent on,” Toleza said.

Group Matola said there should be continuity in projects started by one duty-bearer to the other so that development does not suffer.

NGOGCN Monitoring and Evaluation Officer Davie Chaguzika said they are implementing the project to enhance socio-economic development by addressing issues affecting women and girls through local governance.

“The project is specifically designed to ensure that women and girls are taking part in decision-making, identifying, and implementation and monitoring of development projects to ensure their needs are well addressed. This largely resolves around aspects such as local governance, service delivery, budget tracking and monitoring,” he said.

Chaguzika said politicians have used the ignorance of the people to advance their agenda, especially during the campaign period.

NGOGCN, which is a grouping of 51 local nongovernmental organisations (NGOs), is implementing the project with funding from United States Agency for International Development (Usaid) through National Democratic Institute (NDI).

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