The process of entrenching the constituency development fund in the country’s laws went a step further after the National Assembly approved eight MPs to sit on a joint ad hoc committee to amend the constitution.
The constitutional amendment will be undertaken through a parliamentary initiative as provided for in Article 256 of the constitution.
Apart from the National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF), the motion also seeks to have three other funds – National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF), Senate Oversight Fund (SOF) and Economic Stimulus and Empowerment Fund – anchored in the constitution
The members of the committee are Ainabkoi MP Samuel Chepkonga (co-chair), John Mbadi (nominated), Dr Otiende Amollo (Rarieda), Eckomas Mutuse (Kibwezi West), Edward Muriu (Gatanga), Catherine Wambilianga (Bungoma Woman Rep), David Mboni (Kitui Rural) and Kakai Bisau (Kiminini). They will be joined by nine senators to be approved by the Senate.
Matungulu MP Stephen Mule and his Gichugu counterpart Robert Githinji, who drafted the motion, have been co-opted to the ad hoc committee.
“Noting the general debate in the House on the legislative proposal to amend the constitution to entrench the three specialised funds, cognisant of the comments and views of the MPs during the general debate on the legislative proposal, this House resolves to establish a joint parliamentary committee,” the motion reads.
The joint parliamentary committee will report to the National Assembly and the Senate within 90 days to enable the speakers of the two houses to make a decision and give direction on whether or not the legislative proposal will be published into a Bill. The clerks of the two houses will provide secretariat services.
The NG-CDF is administered in each of the 290 constituencies, with the MPs as the patrons. The proposal to have it anchored in the constitution was prompted by the Supreme Court’s judgment declaring it unconstitutional.
Woman reps role
NGAAF is administered by Woman Reps in the 47 counties, while SOF seeks to empower senators in undertaking their oversight work in their respective counties.
Since NG-CDF was introduced about 18 years ago, it has disbursed Sh417.27 billion to constituencies across the country for development projects.
Allocations to the NG-CDF have been increasing consistently, from Sh1.3 billion in the 2003/04 financial year to Sh44.29 billion in the current financial year 2022/23. In the 12th Parliament, MPs amended the NG-CDF Act to increase allocation from 2.5 per cent of the most recently audited and approved national revenue collected to 5 per cent.
The joint parliamentary committee will facilitate the collation of views from MPs during the general debate and invite members with similar or related proposals to make submissions before it. It will also invite submissions from stakeholders and relevant constitutional and statutory bodies with a law reform mandate, including the Attorney-General.
In consultation with the sponsors, the committee will develop and recommend a harmonised version of the proposal arising from the submissions received.
According to documents presented in Parliament, in the past five years, at least Sh57 billion of NG-CDF funds has been allocated to bursaries, benefiting at least six million needy learners. In has also built 24,020 classrooms and 1,156 dormitories in boarding schools.