Wrap up CDF: New Report Recommends
The Constituency Development Fund (CDF) was passed into law in December 2003 with the aim of devolving some funds to the grassroots so that people would have a say on development.
Since its inception in 2003, CDF has facilitated a transfer of over Kshs. 70.956 billion from the central government to 210 different constituencies. These funds are earmarked to finance the implementation of public projects that have contributed towards the overall socio- economic development of Kenya as a country.
However, CDF continues to operate in very contentious and unconstitutional circumstances. Parliamentarians have chosen to ignore these facts simply because the status quo benefits them. Misappropriation of CDF cash is well documented and the misuse of taxpayers’ money at the grassroots is getting worse even as Kenyans await devolution of Government services to the counties.
In view of these, The Institute for Social Accountability in partnership with Centre for Enhancing Democracy & Good Governance (CEDGG); Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRCE) and VESH Initiative, with support from the Open Society Initiative for East Africa (OSIEA) have released a report recommending the restructuring of the fund. The report calls for a transition from CDF to Counties to help reduce the size of government at the national level and free more resources to the county governments to discharge their functions.
This report identifies several challenges in CDF Management: Key among the challenges was that although CDF was designed to consider local needs and preferences a number of concerns have been raised about the weak institutional framework supporting the CDF, its lack of transparency, and ultimately that it does not address sufficiently the political imperfections that distorted political incentives to serve equally all the poor.
The report sampling five counties (Kitui, Machakos, Nairobi, Nakuru and Vihiga) recommends the immediate release of the CDF Task Force Review report; the removal of MPs from CDF; the consolidation of the 2.5% allocated to CDF into the soon to be created County development structure; the winding up of CDF through a final disbursement in the coming financial year (2011/2012) to complete all pending but viable projects and a repeal of the CDF law.
MPs must get out of CDF
There is a need for a separation of powers to improve accountability for public funds. A conflict of interest is created when MPs have both a role in the appointment of CDF committees where they are in charge of expenditure of funds, and at the same time these MPs sit in Parliament and are responsible for oversight of the funds. They must therefore get out of CDF in upholding the principle of separation of powers.
The 2.5% added to the County kitty
The Constitution of Kenya 2010 at article 1(3) and (4) establishes two levels of government; the national and county levels of government. It does not envisage any parallel management structure being created. CDF should therefore be managed through the county planning, implementation and monitoring process. The CDF law should be repealed, and staff of its institutions integrated into the County framework. The 2.5% currently given to CDF should be consolidated into the soon to be created County development structure.
CDF Review Taskforce: Mr. Minister, release the report immediately
The minister must ensure CDF conforms to the Constitution; he must devise effective strategies for consulting and involving the people of Kenya. Mr. Minister, as we approach a new financial year it is unfortunate that CDF will continue with its present shortcomings.
Recent statements on CDF are a publicity stunt /political grandstanding to hoodwink Kenyans and shirk the parent ministries responsibility in funds management. How can the masses benefit when they have no access to the findings and recommendations contained in the CDF Task Force Review report? We demand that the Minister release this report!
Wind up CDF
In the transition from CDF to Counties, we call upon the Government to allocate the final disbursement to all constituencies and ensure the amounts are enough to complete all pending but viable projects in each Constituency. Thereafter CDF should be scrapped by repealing the law since it no longer has a constitutional basis. We further call upon the Government and all reform minded institutions to ensure that the final allocation to CDF in financial year 2011/2012 will be disbursed and spent to the last cent and accounted for before Parliament is prorogued.
Repeal CDF and institute a transition mechanism from CDF to Counties
We call upon all the institutions under CDF to perform their responsibilities and tasks for the fulfilment of the Constitution, after consultation with and the participation of the people, as the Constitution itself requires, and in the spirit of the sovereignty of the people as acknowledged in the Constitution to ensure no money is wasted on duplicating functions assigned to the County and the National Government as outlined in the fourth schedule of the Constitution. We therefore recommend the removal of CDF because it is not a necessity now and it has no Constitutional basis whatsoever. The Ministry of Planning should immediately provide a timetable for the restructuring of CDF to Citizens, Parliament and civil society including opportunities for public comment, redrafting, and further comment. The draft itself should be brought into the light as soon as possible.
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