NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 6 – Two devolution and governance lobby groups say the National Government Constituencies Development Fund which has been passed by the National Assembly still falls short of the stipulated requirements and expectations.
The Institute for Social Accountability and the Centre for Enhanced Democracy and Good governance pointed out that legislators need to align CDF with to the sub-county and not the constituency as a unit of development to accommodate devolution.
TISA National Coordinator Wanjiru Gikonyo says the bill should further be amended to enable the public have more say in the way the funds are used.
“The bill is unconstitutional and fails to incorporate key principles of inter-governmental relations and subsidiary. We therefore support its invalidation should take effect. We call for a termination of the Constituency Development Fund in line with the court deadline of February 20, 2016,” she said.
Gikonyo indicated that the bill not recognise the principal of separation of powers as stipulated in the Constitution.
“The National Government through the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Devolution and Planning and Cabinet Secretary Treasury should establish a transition mechanism,” she stated.
“This should ensure a full audit of the CDF and transfer of its projects. This should ensure the involvement of the county governments which will take up most of the CDF projects. Ensure the involvement of civil society and citizens for social accountability purposes.”
Gikonyo further stated that an alternative fund should be established to direct the Sh33billion CDF to go towards the establishment of County Policing Authorities and community policing to support in the country.
She also called on the disbandment of the present CDF Board, in light of the Auditor General remarks that 30 constituencies are not able to account for over Sh200 million.
“We also note that the CDF Board is also not properly constituted as the Chief Executive Officer is holding office in an acting capacity. Further, an audit report prepared by the Auditor General’s office in 2013 raised substantive queries about the financial probity of the CEO,” she stated.
The High Court had initially declared the CDF Act unconstitutional and therefore invalid, but gave the government 12 months to make the necessary amendments failure to which it will be nullified.
Legislators had however ignored the observations by the lobby groups and voted for the new Bill, which allows them to appoint citizens-project oversight committees in a bid to regulate the constituency funds.
The court also noted that by giving the grace period, it would allow for the budget cycle to run without being interfered with.
TISA and CEDGG had filed a petition challenging the constitutionality of the CDF Amendment Act, 2013.
A three-judge bench of Justices Isaac Lenaola, David Majanja and Mumbi Ngugi has been hearing the case.
The petition was filed on the grounds that the CDF Act was undermining devolution by infringing on the principle of separation of power and public finance.