HH Walks the Talk
By Davis Mataka
AS President Hakainde Hichilema hits the 200 days mark in office, his pre- election promises are slowly but surely beginning to bear fruit; What with the actualization of his flagship Constituency Development Fund. (CDF).
In more ways than one, this initiative which saw the fund upgraded from a paltry K 1.6 Million to a whooping K25.7 Million has set a ripple effect, touching all sectors of the economy.
The catch is that the funds being disbursed to all the 156 constituencies in the land will ultimately be managed by the users, who are the ordinary day to day everyday people walking the streets and toiling in their respective localities.
Those peasants who till the land and wipe their brows of sweat trickling down their faces under the sweltering heat of the sun.
The youths who have never had half a chance in life to realise their dreams, not because they do not have the zeal to excel in different disciplines of their competence, but because they do not just have.
Those who amid the perils of darkness get up in the wee hours of the day, long before the cocks begin to crow.
The women who walk tremendous distances with babies on their backs, balancing buckets of water on their heads. while others scrounge for a weathered branch or two of firewood to cook up a warm meal to feed the waiting mouths of half-starved children who expectantly look towards the road in anticipation of a wild berry or two that their energy drawn out mothers may have stumbled across in the wild.
And this is only half the story told on how misplaced policy decisions and priorities handed down by bureaucrats in central governments have over time have impoverished communities in the midst of plenty.
Much to the disdain of doomsayers and arm chair critics, their favourite pass time of posturing as alternative voices to even the most progressive of policies of the New Dawn government is quickly waning.
For those who once governed, their everyday cry is how in their years of mismanagement of public resources, they failed to put together such great innovation on how to allow resources and a fair share of the piece of the national cake to reach out to the people they claimed they loved.
Well, here it is. If real decentralization ever took its full form in the real sense of the word, as described by English scholars and in those Thesaurus and dictionaries, then, what is obtaining today could never be a better expression of what has ever been laid in practice.
In a clarion call to all members of parliament, Local Government and Rural Development minister Gary Nkombo calls for prudent utilisation of the funds emphasizing that transparency, accountability and equity are the main principles among many others that should be used when disbursing the funds.
The trickle-down effect is almost guaranteed in this manner and all should have a fair share of the benefits.
What therefore does the CDF translate to in real terms? Enhanced access to government funds.
Relocation and jump starting of cottage industry such as manufacturing of school desks.
Forestalling rural/ urban migration. Enhanced and value added Agric based industry. Fish farming, name it, the benefits accrued are massive.
In the meticulous manner of doing things, Mr. Nkombo launched a 95 page CDF set of guidelines, management, disbursement, utilisation and accountability on 9th February 2022 in Livingstone.
It is envisaged that this document will set the pace for a programme which will spell the begining of the end of poverty and all its off shoots.
President Hichilema himself notes that the launch of the CDF guidelines was a milestone for equitable development in Zambia.
On with January this year, the President reminded that he had promised in his pre-election campaign that his government would increase teachers’ salaries, remove fees in public schools, remove exam fees, remove Parents Teachers Association fees, recruit 30,000 more teachers, provide additional funding for the most vulnerable, build 120 new schools in 2022
And how not so true that HH is delivering.