Former Member of Parliament (MP) for Rumphi East Constituency Kamlepo Kalua says Constituency Development Fund (CDF) is at the discrete control of sitting MPs to enable them seal developmental gaps in their areas.
Kalua was speaking during a parliamentary seat aspirants' debate organised by National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) Trust at Luwuchi in the district.
His sentiments came amid concerns by some quarters that CDF is not transparently run by incumbent MPs who mostly involve their loyalists.
"You have to know that this fund was created to deal with developmental gaps left by Local Development Fund (LDF) and District Development Fund (DDF).
"So, in this case, the incumbent MPs are obliged to manage the fund and ensure that the whole constituency benefits.
"Those alleging that sitting MPs do this and that with the fund are speaking from the perspective of ignorance," Kalua said.
He further argued that MPs use their own resources to enable people at grassroots to procure project materials and that it would be unfair not to involve MP's loyalists in the implementation.
"You need to know that these people do not get actual cash but LPO [Local Purchase Order] to get project materials from the council. An MP pays transport for these village and area development committee members.
"MPs are also answerable when things have gone wrong with the funds; as such he or she is required to put measures to ensure that things work well," argued Kalua.
However, his fellow aspirants Esther Chinula of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Sithandiwe Kondowe of UTM Party, Israel Nyirenda of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) said they would involve grassroots developmental structures to utilise the fund.
Chinula said she knows the constituency well but said, nonetheless, she would consult all developmental structures and chiefs to know areas of need.
"CDF though it comes in the name of the MP, it is for the public. It's not mine. As such I will involve all existing developmental structures and traditional chiefs in its management and implantation.
"My role as a MP will be to follow up on all proposed development activities implemented by the fund," Chinula said.
On her part, UTM's Kondowe pledged to work with existing structures and ward councilors in the implementation of the fund.
"I will work in accordance with CDF guidelines to ensure that the fund is fully utilised and achieve its purpose," Kondowe said.
Taking his turn, Nyirenda of MCP said he will not go against the existing guidelines of the fund once voted into the office.
"On my part, there will be no reinvention of the wheel. If an incumbent MP shuns the grassroots' developmental structures, it is against transparency and accountability.
"Consultations with relevant structures are vital; without consultation there can be no tangible progress on the ground," he said.