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MPs urged to focus on CDF changes, not sideshows



Nyandarua County Senator Muriuki Karue and Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi on Tuesday challenged MPs to embark on amending the Constituency Development Fund (Amendment) Act 2013 to align it with the constitution.
Karue who is credited with authoring the CDF law in 2003 which initiated the devolved funds, said appealing the ruling issued by the High Court on Friday may not be helpful.

He added that the CDF had benefited many Kenyans.

“CDF has impacted greatly on lives of many Kenyans and will still be more effective by re-aligning it with the Constitution,” Karue said.

He further says its time allocations under the law are increased to 5 percent instead of the current 2.5 percent of ordinary government revenue.

On his part, Muturi directed the parliamentarians to use the 12-month grace period given by the High Court to amend the Act saying that CDF is very key in constituency growth.

“I don’t think the debate is on whether CDF has been benefited Kenyans or not, we should move away from that, especially those Honourable Members who like going to TV shows, because you are not saying anything new,” Muturi said.

In a veiled attack on the Judiciary, Muturi questioned the ruling saying that it is not possible to remove MPs from the running of the devolved fund.

The Speaker continued: “Some people need to understand that this principle of separation of powers cannot be applied in abstract. Some of them bring budgets here to buy courthouses; I don’t know to buy what… that is an Executive function.”

At the same time Deputy Minority Leader Jakoyo Midiwo added it is possible to make CDF operational without interfering with devolution, saying that it serves to compliment the efforts by the county governments.

“CDF is here to stay and we as MPs have the powers to make it constitutional. Let us ready ourselves, this is like a game of chess, whichever way Mr Speaker, you guide us and make sure this thing is constitutional by yesterday. Speaker what CDF has done, the counties will not do in 20 years,” Midiwo said.

The two were reacting to Friday’s High Court ruling that declared the CDF Act 2013 unconstitutional on grounds that it undermines the spirit of devolution and the principle of separation of powers.

The ruling came after The Institute of Social Accountability (TISA) successfully sued the National Assembly and the CDF board for undermining devolution, principles of public finance and the separation of powers.

The Constituency Development Fund was introduced in Kenya in 2003 after the 9th Parliament passed the CDF Act 2003.

The CDF Act provides that the government set aside at least 2.5pc of its ordinary revenue for disbursement under the program.

Three quarters of the amount is divided equitably between Kenya’s 290 constituencies whilst the remaining quarter is divided based on a poverty index to cater for poorer constituencies.

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