MPs told to align CDF with the law to retain project billions

President William Ruto adrresses the 13th Parliament on September 29, 2022.PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT | NMG

President William Ruto has asked MPs to take measures to protect the Sh44.3 billion Constituencies Development Fund and establish an oversight kitty for Senators to police cash transfers to counties.

Dr Ruto told Parliament to align the National Government Constituencies Development Fund (NG-CDF) to the requirements of the Constitution in order to save the kitty.

“I know the contribution the National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF) has made in making life better for our citizens,” Dr Ruto said while addressing the inaugural joint sitting of the 13th Parliament.

“I believe there is a way NG-CDF can be aligned to the tenets of the Constitution.”

Dr Ruto’s remarks came barely a week after the National Treasury announced it will not allocate monies to the NG-CDF following the Supreme Court’s judgment that declared it unconstitutional.

A bench of five judges led by Chief Justice Martha Koome last month ruled that the CDF Act, 2013 violates the principle of separation of powers, hence is unconstitutional.

A group of NGOs led by The Institute for Social Accountability (Tisa) has been fighting the CDF since May 2016 on grounds that it infringes on the doctrine of separation of powers since by administering the CDF, legislators would be doing the job of the executive.

Each constituency receives at least Sh137 million every year and the legislators have used the kitty for community development projects.

The CDF Act, 2013 was first declared unconstitutional in 2015 but Parliament appealed the case.

Three judges of the Court of Appeal agreed with the High Court’s findings that the CDF was not in line with the Constitution and gave the National Assembly 12 months to align it with the supreme law.

Parliament then amended the Act and renamed it NG-CDF in a bid to comply with the Appeal Court ruling.

Tisa moved to the High Court in May 2016 to challenge the legality of the new NG-CDF.

Dr Ruto called for adequate resourcing of both Houses of Parliament to undertake oversight duties.

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