MPs Vow To Re-ssurect CDF Fund

The Supreme Court declared the Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF) illegal and unconstitutional last week.

Legislators from marginalized constituencies have stated that they will lobby for another development fund if the National Government does not provide one.

The Supreme Court declared the Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF) illegal and unconstitutional last week.

However, some Coast MPs argued that the ruling would harm development because their constituencies benefited from the CDF kitty.

They promised that once sworn in, they would work with the National Assembly’s Justice and Legal Affairs Committee to begin the process of establishing a new fund that is legally anchored.

Kinango MP-elect Gonzi Rai and his Kaloleni counterpart Paul Katana both stated that they respect the Supreme Court decision, but that lawmakers should reconsider how funds are distributed to constituencies.

“We shall consult widely once we go to Parliament after being sworn in. I am optimistic the issue can be resolved, even if it involves coming up with a bill. Marginalised constituencies rely on such funds to build key infrastructure,” he said.

Mr Rai stated that CDF funds were well spent and that the impact was felt by locals. He stated that the NG-CDF’s significant impact on the country cannot be overstated.

“I think the funds should be managed at constituency levels to avoid corruption and misappropriation as we have seen in some sectors such as health,” he said.

The NG-CDF Act violates the constitutional principle of separation of powers, according to a five-judge panel led by Chief Justice Martha Koome.

The judges also argued that local projects run by MPs through the NG-CDF are unconstitutional because the Constitution gives devolved units the authority to carry out such programs.

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Every year, each constituency received at least Sh100 million, which legislators used for community development projects.

The decision brought to an end a nine-year legal battle between MPs and civil society groups who claimed that managing the fund in constituencies was illegal.

The case was filed in the High Court in 2013 and was appealed to the Supreme Court after the Court of Appeal reversed the first court’s decision.

The Institute for Social Accountability (Tisa) and the Centre for Enhancing Democracy and Good Governance were pitted against lawmakers in the case.

MPs had allocated themselves Sh4.9 billion before the end of the 12th Parliament as they rushed to implement constituency projects ahead of the August 9 General Election under the Treasury budget.

Since its inception in 2003, the CDF has faced a slew of problems, many of which have been attributed to corruption among the managers chosen by MPs to run the kitty.

Managers were accused of abusing the procurement system to enrich themselves, while education bursaries were given out with favoritism and nepotism.