NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 21 – The Chairman of the National Assembly committee on the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) Moses Lessonet said on Saturday that legislators were to hold an informal meeting – popularly referred to as a Kamkunji – to discuss the court ruling that found the CDF (Amendment) Act 2013 unconstitutional.
The Eldama Ravine MP said they will use Thursday’s meeting to read the High Court judgement in detail before taking a position on the ruling that found the CDF Act, as currently worded, unconstitutional.
“We need to establish exactly what it is they found offensive before we can develop a roadmap to address their concerns or decide to challenge their findings in the Court of Appeal but we can do the two things simultaneously,” he said.
He did however describe as, “reasonable,” the court decision to suspend their import of their finding for a year in order to give the legislators time to make the necessary amendments.
“There has been an uprising. My fellow legislators have been calling me off the hook but I have assured them that CDF is still operational,” he said.
Justice David Majanja on Friday said that he and Justices Isaac Lenaola and Mumbi Ngugi decided to suspend their finding that the CDF Act 2013 is invalid as the 2014/15 funds had already been disbursed and the 2015/16 budget process was already in motion.
“The court considered that the CDF had been running for a decade and that the funds for the financial year 2014/2015 have been disbursed and the budgetary process for the next year was in progress. As the fund had entered in top legal obligations that needed to be dealt with, it was in public interest to suspend the period of invalidity of the impugned Act for a year to give room for corrective and transitional measures,” he explained.
The High Court found the CDF Act 2013 unconstitutional as it goes against the spirit of devolution.
The petitioners in the case, The Institute for Social Accountability (TISA), welcomed the court finding after arguing that the fund management was a threat to devolution.
“We have a problem with impunity in this country, we are seeing a replication of the CDFs through the Ward Development Funds because legislators want to sit in Parliament and implement projects. We are so happy that the Court has declared very clearly on those factors that we must protect devolution and that all funds from the National Government must be channeled through the structures of the county governments so this will impact other funds,” Wanjiru Gikonyo of TISA reacted.