Supreme Court rules that CDF is not pocket money for MPs. Great for the next government.

11 mins read

The last time we heard about CDF money in our country was when one of Ruto’s lunatic buddies, Didmus Baraza, was caught having grabbed a CDF vehicle in his constituency and turned it into UDA vehicle after changing the registration numbers and everything. It was an act of theft of public resources. Baraza has gone into hiding since then but that is how MPs use CDF money and resources. It is their money to do what they want for themselves and their families.

In fact, if we look at all the high-profile corruption and theft charges on our politicians whether it is Rigathi Gachagua, the grand thief, Okoth Obado, thief and murderer, Aisha Jumwa and others they steal the CDF money by forming a ton of bogus companies with their family members and friends and collect the CDF and other public money to supply hot air which they have in plenty.

It is time to stop them and this ruling by the Supreme Court is a huge step in that direction. The ruling is that the MPs are legislatures and should not be involved in administering public finance expenses which should be the responsibility of the national government.

This couldn’t have been more timely. We have a new government coming in tomorrow. Fighting corruption is the biggest agenda so far and Azimio leaders are the more credible team to fight corruption. The Supreme Court has just given them the best gift to start that fight against corruption right from every constituency in the country. Streamline CDF management and spending to benefit the people, not the politicians.

Just before the elections, the MPs did what they do best with CDF. They got the money to use it to run their elections.

Read: What happens to CDF money in Kenya?

MPs receive Sh4.9bn for CDF projects ahead of elections

MPs have allocated themselves Sh4.9 billion as they rush to implement constituency projects ahead of the August 9 General Elections.

The Budget and Appropriations Committee (BAC) has allocated the money for the National Constituencies Development Fund (NG-CDF) under the Treasury budget.

“Increase Sh4.9 billion to the NG-CDF,” BAC says in a report on the Supplementary Estimates I tabled in Parliament last evening.

The Treasury had last month told the Finance and National Planning Committee that Sh4,976,500,000 is the NG-CDF arrears for the financial years 2011/12, 2013/14 and 2014/15 and will be factored in Supplementary Estimates No. 1 of 2021/22.

Julius Muia, the Treasury PS told the committee that disbursements of the Sh4.98 billion will be done after completing the payment of the NG-CDF allocation for the current financial year in mid-April.

The total allocation to CDF in this financial year is Sh41.7 billion but the Treasury was yet to release a balance of Sh18 billion as at February 17, 2022.

The Treasury has been disbursing Sh2 billion to constituencies weekly for CDF allocations for the 2021/22 financial year.

“The balance as at February 17, 2022, was Sh18 billion which will be cleared by mid-April,” Dr Muia told the Gladys Wanga-led committee.

The delay in disbursing money to constituencies has created friction with MPs accusing the Treasury of sabotaging projects and educational scholarship.

MPs have been pushing for speedy release of the monies to help them complete stalled and new projects as they seek to please voters ahead of the August polls

MPs have previously lamented that failure by the Treasury to release cash meant for the 290 constituencies had stalled planned projects.

The NG-CDF Act, 2015 sets aside 2.5 percent of the total revenue raised nationally to be shared among the constituencies.

Out of the CDF budget of Sh41.7 billion, each of the 290 constituencies has been allocated Sh137 million for development in the year to June 2022.

The NG-CDF committee has previously tussled with the Treasury following failure to release cash to the constituencies.

This led the Treasury to enter into a pact with MPs to be releasing Sh2 billion weekly to the NG-CDF, an agreement that the Treasury has continued to honour.

The real issue here is that the next national government will have control of the Shs 42 billion CDF money every year. Both contenders to the national government have been promising billions to Kenyans for development.

CDF is not random floating money and loans because it is given to each constituency. It can be very effective in national development if used properly.

This Supreme Court ruling is a blessing for Kenyans. If Azimio becomes our next government as seems to be the case now they have a chance to use that Shs 42 billion a year CDF budget which amounts to Shs 137 million annually for each of the 290 constituencies in Kenya and show Kenyans what they can do with it in five years for the benefit of Kenyans. That is on the table now. It can’t be better than that for Raila and his Azimio team. They have to get to work after they win the elections.

Ruto has been talking about Shs 50 billion a year from nowhere for development loans and we all know how that works. The same Ruto set up the youth development fund, they had the NYS fund and the money for dams all in billions and everything was stolen by their buddies.

With CDF Azimio government will have a guaranteed Shs 42 billion a year for development and they can move it up if the system is delivering what Kenyans need. Azimio can get this into Shs 100 billion a year if they are doing a good job and it could change the country completely for the better. It is about time.

Kenya already has a bottoms up model through CDF and the problem has been that it is run by thieves who luckily are now with Ruto. The country has to dump them and move on. It is coming on Tuesday August 9, 2022. The nation is ready for that transformation. Bring it on.

Let us remember that the CDF system was passed into the Kenyan law in 2003. It has been around for 19 years and Kenyans have spent close to Shs. 1 trillion on CDF. What has CDF run by MPs achieved for Kenyans in all that time? Next to zero in most constituencies.

Raila said in his final address to the nation that he will not run a revenge government. His government will not be about what was done wrong in the past but rather what can be done right for Kenyans to improve their lives right now. I agree with him on that. The evils of the past are too huge to carry or even to look into. I know them personally. Let’s look to the future and this Supreme Court ruling on CDF is a good place to start and show a difference. Let’s do it.

The biggest problem in sorting out the CDF theft fund was going to be that any laws to regulate and audit the CDF would have to be passed in parliament by the same MPs who rob Kenyans through the CDF. It was never going to happen regardless of which political party the MPs belonged to. They always protect themselves and their theft of public resources. Now the national government is going to run CDF and believe me the MPs will be passing all laws to monitor the money. Good.

Azimio should have a Cabinet Secretary in charge of CDF and focused on how that money is used to benefit Kenyans. It is a lot of money and our next government needs to use it wisely and that could change the dynamics of how the resources of our country are used to benefit the citizens.

Oh, and there is all the crying about the cancelled votes for the governor’s seat in Kakamega and Mombasa. It is kind of a mess but it really doesn’t matter. On Wednesday after Azimio wins the presidency and forms the next government, both Malala and Hassan Omar will quit UDA and ask for something in the government. That is another story.

Adongo Ogony is a Human Rights Activist and a Writer who lives in Toronto, Canada

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