Building material bought through state funds to complete a local secondary school in Nkayi has been welcomed by the community, however, they are angry at what they say is the politicisation of state funds.
With elections scheduled for 2023, politicking has become the order of the day with politicians from across the political divide jostling to rally support ahead of the elections.
In the past, those in control of the State coffers tended to use them as a political gimmick to lure voters. Recently, Nkayi South legislator Stars Mathe (Zanu PF) claimed that the building material bought through the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), she handed over to the Gonye Secondary School in Nkayi was from President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
However, some villagers have expressed disappointment at the glorification of the President citing that everyone contributes to the fund through taxation.
While handing over the building material that comprised roofing planks, cement and doors at the school, Mathe called the local leadership comprising councillor, school head, and chairman of the School Development Committee to the front and showed them the material in front of villagers.
She went on to say the material was bought through the CDF but further claimed that it was supplied by President Mnangagwa.
“Here is the CDF material, complete the classroom at secondary. The work is in your hands, the power is in your hands. This is the material that President Mnangagwa and the second republic has given to you. We do not want you to look in the past, we were not the ones who were running the country,” Mathe says much to the ululation by the crowd.
“I was not there, Mnangagwa was not there, he was not the President, you see the one who plays number nine, cannot be matched with the one who is in the centre. President Mnangagwa was playing number nine when he was being sent, today he is in charge; he says here is the CDF material.”
“The President gives us all MPs CDF and we do not know where the MPs were taking it in the past, but now Mnangagwa makes a follow up on what we do with it,” Stars Mathe, Nkayi South legislator says.
Mathe has urged the villagers to complete the classroom block early for it to be commissioned by the government. She also says it is not true that Mnangagwa hates the people of Matabeleland.
A villager, Lawrence Mguti Mpofu says the MP bought all the material for the construction of a classroom block at Gonye secondary school and a block of toilets using the CDF.
“I also know that there are three other secondary schools that have benefited, namely, Dabe, Sagonda and Simbo Secondary Schools. She sent a team to assess the projects (recently),” he says.
But Nkosilathi Ncube, a community member from Dlawa village in Nkayi says Mathe is misleading the people by attaching the CDF to Mnangagwa as the money belongs to the state and citizens. “That money has nothing to do with ED. He didn’t give us out of his pocket. That’s state money,” says Ncube.
Roy Ndlovu says ignorance is a serious problem for the community members that they get misled to believe the CDF money belongs to an individual. “The CDF is not hers (Mathe) but belongs to the people. The committee responsible for development in the constituency should sign for the release of the CDF and ensure that it is used for the intended purpose. The community should be in charge of those projects. The MP should just oversee the project and not pretend that she is doing people a favour,” Ndlovu says.
However, another villager, Themba Sibanda says what Mathe emphasized, is a policy direction with what the current administration considers important, as clearly expressed in the National Development Strategy (NDS) 1, a policy that aims to direct the country towards attaining an upper-middle-income economy by 2030.
“I do not think she suggested that this money was a gift from the President,” he says.
But Hammond Mthembo says in any economy, the President is like a CEO in a company. “He’s there to review policies/compare policy alternatives, and choose the ‘winning ones’. This is what the MP was saying. I would view this as some triangular relation between the party’s manifesto, the government, and the electorate. The MP will always want her/his promises to be fulfilled,” Mthembo says.
“Mathe is telling the community that those materials are from ED, the President of the Second Republic. It’s a smart strategy especially as we gear towards elections. The money does not belong to an individual or party.”
Nkayi community member and educationist, Thembelani Dube has urged office bearers to use the finances, no matter the name given to them, to address the needs and priorities of communities.
This year MPs were allocated $2 million CDF per constituency out of a total of $420 million national CDF funds.
Source: The Citizen Bulletin