, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 19 – Members of Parliament on Tuesday demanded that Constituency Development Fund (CDF) Committees be involved in the management of Sh3 billion intended for the construction of 60 technical training institutions (TTIs) this financial year.
The MPs drawn from the 60 constituencies where the TTIs will be constructed argued that since Sh600 million of the Sh3 billion was coming from CDF funds, it was only logical that the committees be involved in the construction.
“In terms of implementation from the tendering process all the way to the construction works, there’s need for CDF to be involved directly in that process because the CDF Act is very clear, you cannot give money to another institution and not have a way of monitoring how it’s being used,” Runyenjes MP Cecily Mbarire explained.
In a meeting with the MPs, Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi however held that the construction effort fell under the purview of his ministry and while he was willing to involve the CDF committees, he was not obligated to do so.
“We didn’t have to involve them in the tendering (advertised on August 6 and 7). Please remember this is our project. What we have done is to bring them on board to inculcate the spirit of ownership and even to sharpen oversight authority, but it is the ministry’s programme,” he maintained.
Deputy National Assembly Speaker and Sotik MP Joyce Laboso countered that mandates aside, history showed it was prudent to allow the CDF committees ownership of the projects.
“Having been in the 10th Parliament and seen the (economic) stimulus projects, the ones that had the most white elephants were the ones done at the top. The tenders were given at the national office. The ones that were most successful were done at the constituency level,” she alleged.
Eldama Ravine MP Moses Lessonet agreed with Laboso that the CDF committees are well equipped to handle the construction of the TTIs independent of the already existent technical training institutions meant to act as, “mentors.”
“For fast implementation, efficient roll out, effectiveness, cost management, it’s always cheaper when we have local contractors, local management teams, local committees, they’ll normally do it very fast,” he argued.
And the role of the mentoring institutions, Laboso continued to argue, should be restricted to the content aspect of the TTIs, not construction.
“Once the building is in place then the mentoring will be now on curriculum development, admission of students, that in my view is the way we should go,” she proposed.
Kaimenyi disagreed with Laboso’s contention that the mentoring institutions are ill-equipped to deal with the construction side of things. “All the TTIs we have constructed were under that mentorship programme and I can tell you they were successful,” he said.
He did however promise to take the MPs’ proposals under advisement asking that they too extend him the same courtesy: “We must trust each other. Nobody is trying to hide anything.”