Nairobi — Newly elected Members of the National Assembly have dismissed the pronouncement of the Supreme Court that the constituency Development fund is illegal and unconstitutional.
Vowing to ensure that the fund stays put, the MPs in unison claimed the Act found illegal was the 2013 CDF and not the current National Government Constituency Development Fund (NGCDF).
During the two day orientation of Parliament ahead of reopening next month, the lawmakers insisted they will ensure the fund is back on line.
The lawmakers are mulling putting in place new legislation in the event the NGCDF is regarded unconstitutional.
Veteran politician Julius Sunkuli who is Kilgoris MP-Elect was last in Parliament in 2002 when the CDF fund was nonexistent and he holds that the fund which was termed unconstitutional by the Supreme needs to be wired back.
“I hope the law can be interpreted in such a way to keep the CDF, without CDF this nation will be in problem. People are used to CDF and it has greatly positively affected the lives of the people ,”said Sunkuli, Kilgoris MP elect.
Westlands MP elect Tim Wanyonyi asserted that the constituency development fund has mainstreamed development in the country as compared to the counties.
“The act was declared unconstitutional is the one that Parliament repealed, now we have the new act NGDCDF, it has been challenged in court but I know the case is being handled by the PSC,” Wanyonyi said.
Gatundu South MP elect Gabriel Kangombe who is steeping in the August house as a lawmaker for the first time faulted the move by the apex court saying they will fight to ensure that the NGCDF which was still in court is in effect.
“We must follow the law and even though we have separation of powers in the three arms of government we should first agree that the work of Parliament is to legislate and the Courts should not get in the way of that,” Kangombe stated.
In a judgment delivered by Chief Justice Martha Koome, the apex court ruled that the CDF Act 2013 that allowed Members of Parliament to manage funds offended the division of the revenue and public finance law.
The ruling quashed the Court of Appeal’s decision that had initially allowed the enactment of the CDF Act 2013.
“A declaration is hereby made that the Constituency Development Fund Act, 2013 is unconstitutional,” the verdict given by the five-judge bench read in part.
“We agree with the reasoning adopted by the High Court to the effect that the CDF Act 2013 violates the principle of separation of powers and that the CDF Act 2013 is unconstitutional. We also agree with the reasoning of the Court of Appeal, but only to the extent that it upholds the position of the High Court,”
CDF was established in 2003 (CDF Act 2003) to enable the government to set aside at least 2.5 per cent of its ordinary revenue and channel it towards the Fund.
This was amended in 2007, to establish the National Government CDF Boards (NG-CDF)at the constituency level to replace the National Committee.
Under the amendment, CDF Committees were established with respective MPs being tasked as the patrons. The CDF Act 2013, however, repealed the 2007 Act, essentially giving powers to MPs an avenue to implement projects funded by the public.