Govt to harmonise devolved funds

July 23, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 23 – The government plans to establish a constituency resource management framework to consolidate the supervision of devolved development funds.

Planning Minister Wycliffe Oparanya on Thursday complained that lack of proper accountability and coordination had led to duplication of projects and the establishment of idle ones.

He cited the health sector as the worst hit by this anomaly with the establishment of over 1,000 health centres half of which are without personnel and crucial facilities. The Minister added that this was the reason why over 20 percent of the Constituency Development Fund monies could not be accounted for.

“We want a situation where the various envelopes sit together and agree what will be done by the CDF, the Local Authorities Transfer Fund, school bursaries, line ministries and the non-governmental organisations and then we start implementing,” said the Minister adding that a Bill to establish this framework had been forwarded to the Cabinet for approval.

“The focus at the moment is only at CDF which is just 2.5 percent of the budget whereas we have other funds bigger than this.”

The Minister spoke when he launched public hearings for the Constituency Development Fund review taskforce. The taskforce will recommend legal and structural amendments to the CDF Act under the stewardship of Muriuki Karue, the kitty’s architect.

The committee will recommend reviews of the CDF Act 2003 and the CDF Amendment Act 2007, its structures and aspects of its performance so far and come up with strengthened ways to enhance accountability and seal gaps that can lead to the misuse of the funds. Mr Karue said besides conducting public hearings in selected parts of the country they have printed over 250,000 questionnaires to be made available in chiefs’ camps for the members.

“Come out and give all your views and recommendations. And it can be anything that you think would make CDF better. You can even challege the existence of the fund,” Mr Karue said while welcoming Kenyans to the hearings.

The task force is expected to hand over it’s findings within 60 days.

Just as the taskforce begins its work a non governmental organization, wants the excessive powers wielded by the MPs in the management of the kitty reduced. The CDF Accountability Project coordinator Wanjiru Gikonyo says the legislators’ roles should be limited.

Planning Minister Wycliffe Oparanya however defended MPs in the appointment of their relatives and cronies to the Constituency Development Fund committees at the grassroots saying they have been given the powers by law to appoint the committee members.

“There are those people who assist you in becoming the MP and it is natural that you will look upon them to help you achieve the campaign promises. I therefore don’t see anything wrong with appointing them so long as you adhere to the laid down rules and they follow procurement regulations,” he said in his defense.

Mrs Gikonyo also wants the composition of CDF Committees which act as gate keepers for the MP in a majority of constituencies streamlined to avoid patriotism and creation of corruption cartels. The coordinator adds that procurement processes needs scrutiny to lock our corruption cartels and eliminate the conversion of the kitty to what she terms as the contractor development fund.



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