Jesuit Scholars Criticize Zambian Government’s Failure to Address Budget Loopholes

The Logo of the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR). Credit: JCTR

Members of the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) have criticized the Zambian government’s failure to address challenges that impede the implementation of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) in the 2024 budget before increasing the fund.

The 2024 budget has increased the allocation of CDF from K28.3 million (USD 1.3million) to K30.6 million (USD 14.5million).

JCTR Executive Director, Fr. Alex Muyebe says while the increased CDF “has a potential of bringing about a huge economic transformation at the community level”, the implementation of the fund given to constituencies for development purposes is faced with challenges that needed to be addressed before the new allocation.

“The JCTR is seriously concerned with increasing the CDF allocation without first addressing the … challenges which evidently are impeding transparency, accountability and community participation in the implementation of CDF,” Fr. Muyebe said in a statement on September 30.

He added, “Without addressing these challenges, the CDF will continue to be hijacked by politicians. This will derail it from achieving the intended goal of alleviating poverty and improving the living standards and conditions of people in Zambia.”


Fr. Muyebe said that the implementation of the fund is faced with challenges including lack of transparency, weak structures to ensure the money reaches the intended beneficiaries, political influence in the execution of the fund, and the lack of community participation.

He noted that there were weak mechanisms to monitor the database of the beneficiaries double dipping from CDF by belonging to multiple cooperatives and applying to numerous constituencies, and limited staff members at the Local Authority level to implement the fund.

CDF will continue to be hijacked by politicians if the challenges are not addressed, Fr. Muyebe said, adding that the situation would derail it from achieving its intended goal of alleviating poverty and improving the living standards and conditions of people in Zambia.

To improve on the implementation of CDF, Fr. Muyebe urged the government to “invest in the development of an integrated monitoring and evaluation system that captures data of all the CDF-related projects across all the constituencies in the country.”

He has also called upon the government to conduct “a comprehensive audit to establish value for money on all CDF resources allocated thus far.”

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“Set up a platform that encourages inter-constituency collaboration in the implementation of some projects such as purchasing and servicing of road construction equipment as well as encouraging cross-learning of good practices amongst the constituencies,” the JCTR Executive Director says.

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.