For MPs to focus on their core mandate, disband CDF

Thursday, March 11th, 2021 17:15 |
Parliament. Photo/File

By Kennedy Odweyo

Ever wondered why the CDF cheques for bursaries are issued every term, yet the budgets are annual?

Ever wondered why the cheque handover ceremonies are done in full glare of the cameras? And why must the Mheshimiwa remind the beneficiaries that were it not for him or her, they would not have gone to school?

There is technology nowadays that allows for money to be wired directly to schools where beneficiaries, after being identified, can just be notified to report to the institution without having to be paraded for everyone to see.

Did I also mention that some of the beneficiaries are people who do not need help but get it because they are connected to a few members on the CFC committee who deny other deserving Kenyans these few opportunities.

For starters, the National Government-Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF) was established by the NARC government through the CDF Act 2003 to address the historical injustices meted on the vast majority of Kenyans and regions by successive over-centraised post-independence regimes.

CDF was meant to take development closer to the people, in constituencies, with Members of Parliament (MPs) the custodians of the fund. However, over time, the MPs have turned CDF into a personal property, used to reward loyalty and punish rebellion where help or development is dependent on whom you voted for or whom you know.

To make matters worse, the BBI is proposing more to be misused through the County Government-Ward Development Fund (CG-WDF), another kitty this time for MCAs who have been agitating for their own ‘CDF’.

This is one of the reasons I am against BBI while I want CDF disbanded with those funds channeled to the county governments.

The Constitution of Kenya 2010 guarantees national liberties and citizen rights via things like devolution and with the continued enlightenment of the citizenry through convenient access to information, execution roles should remain a preserve of the executing arms of both the county and national governments, with the support of the other arms.

Let the MCAs and MPs focus on their core duties which are representation, legislation and oversight as opposed to thinking how to use the Sh137m allocated to Butula constituency, for example, to look for votes while a big chunk of the Sh2.7 trillion national budget is misappropriated by the executive as a result of weak oversight by the legislature.

Because their performance is largely measured, albeit wrongly, based on how ‘well’ they have used this kitty, MPs have failed to adequately represent, legislate and oversight on behalf of their constituents as a result of too much focus on CDF utilisation.

This failure by the legislators to undertake their constitutional roles is the basis of all our problems as a country, lack of legislative power and independence that can effectively check the excesses of the other arms of government, especially the executive.

The writer is an expert on governance and youth affairs

[email protected]

More on News