The Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM) has said ignorance in rural areas is limiting the ability of constituents to hold their Members of Parliament (MPs) accountable on usage of Constituency Development Fund (CDF).
EAM programme coordinator Evans Jeka said this on Wednesday in Mchinji during the distribution of bicycles to community rights volunteers.
He said most communities lack structures to check utilisation of CDF funds allocated to their constituencies.
“Most constituents are not aware of the use of CDF. The challenge is the political element where CDF resources are taken as personal money from MPs to their constituencies. There are no strong community structures in constituencies to handle usage of CDF,” said Jeka.
He said EAM is implementing a project in Mchinji, Nkhotakota, Lilongwe and Ntcheu to promote citizen participation in policy decisions and good governance.
“We are building capacity of constituents so that they are able to hold their MPs, district council officials and all duty bearers accountable. We are also building capacity of church leaders so that they actively participate in making of policy decisions,” said Jeka.
EAM general secretary the Reverend Francis Mkandawire said the 60 bicycles worth K2.14 million (about $6 294) for the four districts are meant to ease operations for the volunteers whom he said apart from engaging duty-bearers on development activities, are also empowered to fight gender-based violence and other social injustices in their areas.
“We are working with different partners in various areas. Our wish is to see that this project is up-scaled to all other districts. We need to empower communities to ensure that they provide necessary checks and balances on duty-bearers,” said Mkandawire.