, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 26 – A ministerial taskforce appointed to look into ways of strengthening the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) has recommended that Kenyans be allowed to elect officials who sit in their respective Constituency CDF Management Committees.
Taskforce Chairman Muriuki Karue said that this came after Kenyans demanded to be involved in the management of the devolved funds which they say were currently being distributed in terms of political patronage or even nepotism.
“Wananchi are crying (for) participation as to the choice of project (funded by CDF). They also want participation in the composition of the committee at the constituency,” he said as he handed over the taskforce report to Planning Minister Wycliffe Oparanya.
According to the committee, MPs will now be limited to only performing an oversight role over the fund after powers to pick committee members are stripped from them.
“There is no way an MP could be delinked from the development activities in his constituency,” Karue said.
Karue, who is credited with spearheading the introduction of the Fund said that Kenyans also want to participate in the selection of the projects to be funded.
At the same time, the taskforce has recommended the establishment of a Universal Bursary Fund which will be operated by the national government as Kenyans felt the one on the constituency level was awarded through favouritism.
“It is recommended that Parliament spearheads the establishment of a universal bursary fund which will ensure adequate amounts are available for educational bursaries at all levels in a properly structured framework,” he said.
The taskforce proposes the Cabinet Secretary should announce the estimated amount of allocation of each Constituency by the end of February each year.
It has further proposed that March 15 be set aside as the Constituency Project Identification Day where residents meet at the wards to discuss and prioritise important projects for the following financial year.
The ward will submit the prioritised list of projects to the CDF Committee (CDFC) for consideration and consolidation with other wards in the constituency by end of March.
The CDFC will present the list for validation and certification at a Constituency Assembly to be held before the end of April.
The CDFC will present the prioritised list of projects to the County CDF Committees (CCC) for harmonisation and vetting to ensure that the each project has an applicant who makes a formal application for their funds.
The CDFC submits to the CDF Board the validated and certified list of prioritised projects by the end of June.
The CDF Board will then approve the projects for each constituency by the end of July.
The Karue team has further called for a comprehensive audit into the thirteen existing devolved funds as some were found to be duplicating in role.
The taskforce which was appointed in 2009 has also proposed that the funds allocated to the CDF be increased to six percent from the current 2.5 percent on the total national revenue.
On the fund allocations and allocations criteria, the Karue taskforce recommended that five percent (maximum) be allocated to the Board. 75 percent will be divided to the constituencies; 22 percent to be shared among all constituencies according to the poverty index formula as stipulated in Section 19 of Act.
The board however recommended three percent be shared among all constituencies according to the Constituency Vastness Index defined as the area of the Constituency as a proportion of the total area of the country.
Minister Wycliffe Oparanya he has prepared a draft Bill to repeal the current CDF Act and says he hopes that it will be enacted by October.
He said the new CDF should ensure more transparency and accountability, enhanced monitoring and evaluation, improved projects identification, prioritisation and targeting of the projects funding.
The Planning Minister further said he had already released over Sh21 billion to the constituencies adding that he will be submitting the detailed list showing the allocations to each constituency when parliament resumes its sittings next Tuesday.