Ex-Speaker hints at how MPs can keep CDF

Former National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

MPs will have to completely detach themselves from the control of the Constituency Development Fund after the Supreme Court ruled that the CDF Act, 2013 violates the principle of separation of powers, former Speaker Justin Muturi has said.

Mr Muturi said unless Parliament amends the National Government Constituencies Development Fund (NGCDF) 2015 to remove MPs from the direct management of the Fund, the kitty will face the same fate as the 2013 law which the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional.

Currently, MPs appoint members of the Constituencies Development management committees that oversee projects in the 290 Constituencies.

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.

This came as a major win for critics, who have come together under a group of NGOs led by The Institute for Social Accountability (Tisa).

The NGOs are currently awaiting the direction of a three-judge bench after contesting the passage of the NG-CDF Act, 2015.

“All is not lost because CDF has done marvelous things across the country despite a few incidents. We know the Supreme Court annulled the 2013 Act but the substance of the judgment most likely will bind decisions of any other court including the High Court,” Mr Muturi said.

Speaking at his office as he prepared to exit after serving for 10 years as Speaker, Mr Muturi asked the new MPs to urgently relook at the NG-CDF Act, 2015 to address the constitutional question of separation of powers and question of sharable revenue.

“It is possible for the CDF to exist without the active participation of MPs. There is a need to amend the law to have the public and other arms of government manage it,” he said.

“My advice to MPs is that they should quickly navigate the twin question of separation of powers and the sharable revenue to save the CDF.”

Newly elected MPs have promised to explore all available avenues to beat the August 8 Supreme Court judgment to retain the CDF.

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.

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