AN attempt by special seats female members of the Zanzibar House of Representatives to be considered for the ‘Constituency Development Funds (CDF) failed to bear fruit after most legislators voted against it.
Ms Mwantatu Mbaraka Khamis (Special Seats) tabled a private motion to push for provision of CDF, arguing that they faced many financial obligations in their respective areas.
“We need the funds for various projects in our areas,” said Ms Khamis, prompting a relatively heated debate from male backbenchers like Mr Suleiman Makame Ali (Ziwani) who suggested that they should be given money through elected MPs and under the ratio of one elected MP: four special seats MPs.
Although some MPs made jokes during the debate, they had mixed views with some rejecting the proposal outright. Since 2012, the Zanzibar government has been allocating 20m/= to support development programmes in each constituency.
Commenting on the issue before legislators voted for or against the motion, the Minister for Finance and Planning, Dr Khalid Salum Mohamed, said: “CDF is owned by all people in a given constituency and it is managed by a committee chaired by the MP.
Therefore no-one owns the funds and it is wrong to call it MPs funds and it is also wrong for special seats MP to demand their own.”
He said it would be appropriate for the special seats MPs to demand to be included in the committee than lobbying to be given the money because nowhere in the world are special seats MPs are given CDF, according to the State Minister (responsible for constituency development) Mr Mohamed Aboud Mohamed.