Opposing MP Munir’s ‘more CDF to villagers’: after all M’membe tells HH to return to Bweengwa village

Opposing MP Munir’s ‘more CDF to villagers’: after all M’membe tells HH to return to Bweengwa village

By Austin mbozi

I differ with Lumezi MP Munir Zulu who suggested that rural constituencies like his must get more CDF than urban ones (The Mast editorial, 15 April 2024). After all, the opposition can resist ‘Go-back-to-the-land policies, like Socialist Party president Fred M’membe did when he mocked President HH to return to his Bweengwa village ‘if village life is that easy’.

Let us debate this matter, since even the respectable The Mast newspaper supported this MP’s suggestion. Here are my arguments against unequal CDF allocations. First, urban constituencies are on average receiving less CDF share per person. From K30.8 million CDF MP Mulambo Haimbe’s urban Lusaka Central which MP Zulu refers to is getting only K512 per person because it has 60,099 voters (as at 2021). But from the same K30.8 million, MP Zulu’s Lumezi constituency which has a voter population of only 53,451 is getting more per person, which is K576. The likes of urban Mandevu constituency with a 161,609 voter population are getting worse, a paltry K190 share per person or ‘per capita allocation’.

Understandably, supporters of Munir Zulu can add that even if rural populations get more CDF, this is good for reducing the rural-urban wealth gap, and can encourage a ‘Go-back-to-the –land’ migration from urban to rural areas. If so, I suggest that both MP Zulu and The Mast should have emphasised this theoretically stronger argument, not what they gave that they are seeing little benefits of CDF in towns. Still this line of reasoning leads to failure in practice. Why? Because no government can dare tell off urbanites to suffer just because they have refused to relocate to villages. Suppose a child dies in the urban ghetto like Kalikiliki because of poverty, can such a government arrest the parent saying ‘you caused the death of this child because you did not relocate to the rural area where we have taken more CDF?’ No! It fears election loss in hugely populated ‘ma komboni’ (poor urban) areas. And the opposition will decampaign such a government. Recently, President HH advised villagers not to migrate to urban areas ‘without a serious survival plan’ because he would send CDF to improve their lives within villages. Yet opposition leader M’membe implicitly accused him of chasing urbanities away just because he has failed to feed them, saying, ‘why did HH himself leave Bweengwa village?’ (News Diggers 12 January 2024). Even President Kenneth Kaunda was told, ‘show example by going back to your Shambalakale farm in Chinsali’. Result? He failed to implement his Go-back-to-the-land policy.

Even some of you readers, do not pretend. You fear village life. This is why you enjoy Richbizzy’s song ‘siningayende kumunzi’; fearing leaving town women who ‘shake mbokoshi’ (nyashi) while wearing ‘sikiyo pa mutoto’ (wire ring on the umbilical button). It is only me who can easily return to my village once my UNZA gratuity is paid from Milingo Lungu’s returned $24 million. In my village men enjoy a Lenje woman wearing ‘bulungu’ (waist beads) all night in her hut, more enjoyable while it rains outside. Not those women of your ‘chi’ town pierced with a ‘chi’ wire (ring) on the stomach. ‘Atase’!

Second, the reason why CDF’s impact in urbans is not as visible is because what it builds is surrounded by bigger infrastructure. Who can notice a new K30.8 million CDF building in Ng’ombe compound which stands next to the spectacular Miracle Life Church? But in my village around chief Mungule, only two ‘tuma’ Zesco electricity power lines have made villagers abandon using Lenje-Tonga, now speaking Nyanja because they feel they are in ‘town’. This is why I prefer identifying myself with villagers. Within university (UNZA) where I teach nobody notices me because I am surrounded by better-off professors. But in my village, I am called ‘bai ba ba mai’ (teacher of teachers). Why? Because they compare me with Ampwani Nyimba who used to bully us in grade seven but failed to progress to grade eight.

Third, MP Zulu over-looked the fact that MP Haimbe’s Lusaka Central urbanites also need CDF help to import/manufacture the irrigation equipment. So he wrongly suggested that his villagers will irrigate while Lusaka Central urbanites will not. And why have his villagers not produced a single cob with the K5 million (20%) allocated for women and youth loans? Answer. CDF won’t irrigate much? On whose land will a cooperative of ten or more members from different families invest the irrigation equipment without facing future land ownership-related problems? MP Zulu should publicly support my article, ‘Not dams; and give irrigation loans only to serious farmers’ (The Mast 11 March 2024). Many supported it, adding voices to my phone-in programme on UNZA radio on 18 March 2024. My plan can help, since although UPND’s armed forces-led massive irrigation projects may flood the market with maize, prices won’t be reduced the pro-poor below K200.

Fourth, MP Zulu’s proposal will bring accusations of favouritisms. If you give lower CDF to the largely urban Copperbelt Province, Lambas will complain of being ethically denied.

Fifth, some constituencies like Monze, Mazabuka, Livingstone, Chipata Central, Mongu, Katuba, Solwezi etc have both an urban and rural populations. If you classify Mazabuka as rural and give it more CDF, MP Zulu will accuse its MP Gary Nkombo of abusing his local government ministerial position to favour his constituency. If you classify it as urban and give it less CDF, Gary Nkombo will risk being voted out by his own people.

Sixth, constituents are not bound to stay only in that constituency. They can relocate across the country in search of opportunities. The policy of allocating equal CDF amounts gives wide relocating choices.

May readers, join this debate; MP Zulu may reply via my email or The Mast editor.


The author, article/proposed a household irrigation funding alternative but no UPND official/appointee approached him, to at least discuss it. Phone: +260-978-741920. Email: austin.mbozi2017@gmail.com

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