NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 21 – Opposition Leader Raila Odinga has welcomed Friday’s ruling by the High Court which declared the Constituencies Development Fund (Amendment) Act 2013 as defective and therefore unconstitutional.
Odinga said that under the current Constitution, resources should be channeled towards the County Government to avoid duplication of roles. He, however, said that proper measures must be put in place to ensure accountability.
“CDF has done wonderful things when we had a centralised government but now we have a new Constitution which introduced devolution as the core principle,” he pointed out.
“There is need to revisit some of these Acts which are not consistent with the new Constitution.”
He said they may decide to take up the matter in their Okoa Kenya referendum initiative set to be launched next month.
Embakasi South Member of Parliament Irshad Sumra who was attending a church service with the former Prime Minister at Imara Daima however warned that the fund will be miss-appropriated if placed under Governors.
He said MPs will not let go of the fund unless a similar kitty is created for the legislators or ward representatives by the County Governments.
“We are not against devolution but we shall not allow this to happen…the CDF has been used to help people at the lowest level of a constituency,” he stated.
“The Governors have failed to bring a Ward Development Fund…once the matter is brought to the National Assembly, we shall amend the law in 12 minutes.”
His counterpart Edick Anyanga from Nyatike constituency alleged that the CDF money will be used, “to construct Governor’s houses…the money will be embezzled. What the court has done is a disservice to the people of Kenya.”
The ruling was issued by a three-judge bench comprising Justices David Majanja, Isaac Lenaola and Mumbi Ngugi.
The case was filed by The Institute for Social Accountability (TISA) and sought to address four main issues; whether process of the enactment of the CDF was constitutional, whether it violated the principles of finance and division of revenue, whether it violated the division of powers and functions and whether the CDF Act 2003 offends the principle of separation of powers.
The ruling read out by Justice Majanja said the law was unconstitutional as the Senate was not involved in its enactment, that it interfered with the functioning of the county government and that it undermined the devolution of power, accountability and good governance.
It is due to this and the fact that disbursement was already on course that the national government was given time to ensure the law which has greatly impacted underdeveloped regions in parts of the country was constitutional.