Jesuit Entity in Zambia Warns of “increasing political interference” in Constituency Fund

Sir Gibson Mwila, JCTR Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, and Child-Safeguarding Focal Person. Credit: JCTR

Officials of the Jesuit Center for Theological Reflection (JCTR) in Zambia are warning of a “seemingly increasing political interference” in the handling of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) in the Southern African nation.

In a statement published Wednesday, May 31, JCTR officials warn that “if left unchecked”, the nature of the political interference in the CDF, the revenue availed to Members of Parliament (MPs) to implement specific development projects in the localities they represent, can negatively affect its impact on beneficiaries and how the resources are accounted for. 

“JCTR is deeply concerned about the possible negative effects of political interference in the implementation of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) in Zambia if left unchecked. JCTR has noted with concern the seemingly increasing political interference in the CDF processes,” the statement dated Monday, May 29 indicates.

The Jesuit scholars say the presence of an MP and five other members of the CDF Committee nominated by lawmakers amounts to political interference as the parliamentarians can easily influence the committee’s decisions. 

Officials of the Lusaka-based Institute that is engaged in research, advocacy, education, and consultancy on social issues also decry the proposal to involve District Commissioners (DC) in the management of CDF.


Political interference in the processes of the fund “has the potential to impede the successful and effective implementation of CDF as well as to undermine the tenets of accountability and transparency”, they say. 

Officials of the Jesuit entity that has previously conducted research around CDF in Zambia and is currently facilitating the implementation of a project dubbed, “Enhancing transparency, accountability and community participation in the implementation of CDF” call on the Zambian government to take immediate action to stop the alleged interference and to ensure strict adherence to the CDF guidelines by all stakeholders. 

“This should also include strengthening the accountability mechanisms over CDF funds to ensure that politicians or the local authority are held accountable for any misuse of CDF funds,” they say. 

The members of the Society of Jesus urge Zambia’s government to “deliberately promote the involvement of local communities in the identification, planning, and implementation of CDF projects to ensure that the fund is used for the intended purpose of promoting grassroots development.”

The Hakainde Hichilema-led government also needs “to strengthen the monitoring and evaluation mechanisms to ensure that the projects are implemented as planned and in a transparent and accountable manner to enhance public confidence in the CDF”, JCTR officials further say. 

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Apart from the purchasing and distribution of the CDF Monitoring Vehicles in the constituencies, the Zambian government must also set up a databank that captures information of all CDF-funded projects and their progress in all the constituencies, they say.

In their May 29 statement, the Jesuit scholars also call on Zambia-based Civil Society Organizations, the media, and the general public “to remain vigilant and hold the local authority and or politicians accountable for the use of CDF funds.”

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.