, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 7 – Civil society groups are asking the Senate to reject a Constitution amendment Bill which was passed by the National Assembly on October 1, placing management of the Equalization Fund under MPs.
Civil society groups under The Devolution Forum are asking the Senate to reject the proposed amendment of Article 204 (2) and 3(b) on the Equalization Fund saying it is unconstitutional and undermines the mandate of county governments by seeking to establish the constituency as an administrative unit.
“The proposed amendment offends the principle of separation of powers between the Executive and Legislature and the functional distinctness of the county governments,” said the group.
They also accused the National Assembly of ignoring a High Court ruling which declared the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) unconstitutional and gave the Lower House 12 months to align the fund with the law.
“We call upon the Senate to put a stop to this madness,” they asserted.
The ruling also barred legislators at both levels of government from participating in the administration and implementation of development projects in the counties.
On October 1, the National Assembly overwhelmingly voted to take over the management of the Sh6 billion Equalization Fund from county governments raising uproar from Governors.
The group also took issue with the gazettement of the Affirmative Action Social Development Fund otherwise known as the Women’s fund terming it unconstitutional.
“We note that the National Assembly has become one of the biggest offenders of the Constitution. They have become wolves greedily devouring all our resources. When the upholders of the law become its aggressors our country is at great risk,” they stated.
They also accused the Clerk, the Speaker and the chairperson of the Budget Committee of failing to prevent the travesty by their colleagues and should advise the others to reject the Bill.
They also called for a review of the equalization grant guidelines terming the current ones as ‘centrist and top-down thinking’ and bent on marginalizing the country.
“The guidelines ignore the principles of subsidiarity, transparency and participation and makes no provision for this,” they said.
They stated that the guidelines needed to be modified so as to conform to the constitution.
The anticipated debate over the amendments to the Equalization Fund will set the stage for another supremacy battle between the two houses of Parliament as the Senate seeks revenge for the actions of the lower house during the debate over the Division of Revenue Bill.
The National Assembly had ‘cheekily’ taken away Sh1 billion it had allocated to the Senate for oversight to contribute to the deficit in the equitable share to counties.
So far a number of senators have expressed themselves over the matter vowing to oppose the move by the National Assembly.