BY CHARITY KATAGO
Though it was laudable for Planning Minister Wycliffe Oparanya to form a task force to review the running of the Constituency Development Funds (CDF), I’m still pessimistic that at some point Members of Parliament will access these funds.
This is in particular reference to the greater devolution of development funds as outlined by Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta in this year’s budget.
However, it’s one thing for an MP to manage Sh50 million and another altogether for them to access amounts in the region of Sh200 million. Let’s not forget that a recent report highlighted misuse in 20 percent of CDF monies.
Now, then, why should we trust that this same group of people who have time and again thwarted any efforts to have them pay tax, or just tighten their belts like the rest of us in the face of economic difficulties?
Only recently, these leaders have treated us to choruses on why they should not sacrifice their fuel-guzzling cars with flimsy reasons like bad roads and something like ‘cars with an 1800 cc engine capacity are the kind that is driven by teenagers’.
This then brings me to the gist of my piece. Why on earth should we place these people at the helm of the devolvement efforts in this country? Why would we take to the streets over abuse allegations against a priest yet we do not do the same for a political lot that is running amok?
Could the reason be that this group of individuals is a reflection of exactly who we are in society and that’s why we see no wrong with the way they handle matters that are crucial to us?
While we may want to argue that CDF has managed to involve more members of the public on issues of development unlike in the past when the Central government was fully in charge, I think it’s about time we became more pro-active on governance issues.
The fact that we have tried before with little success should not be a deterrent. Who says wars or justified causes are won in the first, second or even third attempt?
As Trade Minister Kimunya aptly put it on Monday, “if you take it that politicians will ever contain one another that is a big joke.”
Therefore, with this in mind, let us now reverse the biggest blunder ever made by Kenya – entrusting the important process of DEVOLUTION to a class of politicians that has let us down on too many occasions!