The National Treasury has agreed to send Sh10 billion meant for constituency development so as to end the boycott of a meeting in Mombasa by Members of Parliament.
More than 300 members of the National Assembly, who had boycotted an induction seminar in Mombasa for three days protesting at the delayed release of National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF) money, ended their protests after Treasury sent the first tranche of Sh4 billion.
The seminar kicked off yesterday afternoon after the cash was wired to the constituencies’ accounts. It took the intervention of National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula to resolve the impasse during a closed-door meeting with the MPs. Led by NG-CDF Committee Chairman Musa Sirma, the MPs said the stalemate had been amicably resolved.
“The Speaker also apologised for the delays. We have received Sh4 billion which started being disbursed on Tuesday. By Tuesday next week, all MPs will each have received Sh34 million,” the Eldama Ravine MP said.
National Assembly Budget and Appropriations Committee Chairman Ndindi Nyoro explained that the delays were “occasioned by the timing”.
“Schools were reopening and the government facilitates every pupil and student with capitation, which is a very urgent need,” said the Kiharu MP. Yesterday, the MPs, who had started collecting signatures to impeach Treasury Cabinet Secretary Prof Njuguna Ndung’u, breathed a sigh of relief.
They said Treasury had pledged to disburse the remaining Sh6 billion by February 15.
On Tuesday, Cabinet officials led by Economic Planning Principal Secretary James Muhati tried in vain to urge the MPs to resume their induction. Attempts by top Kenya Kwanza leaders to calm the MPs down also fell flat.
“We told them it is not a political party issue but we are fighting for Kenyans, poverty has no political inclination. We have also signed the impeachment document,” said a Kenya Kwanza MP who requested anonymity for fear of reprisals from the party.
Embakasi East MP Babu Owino said it was unfair for the state to use millions to take the MPs to Mombasa while thousands of children are languishing at home. His Kapenguria counterpart, Mr Samwel Moroto, lauded MPs across the political divide for “speaking in one voice”.
“It is good that all MPs have stood firm. We want funds to help children go to school,” said Mr Moroto. Gem MP, Elisha Odhiambo lauded the Treasury for disbursing the funds.
His counterpart from Nambale, Mr Geofrey Mulanya, said they decided as a team to leave their political differences aside to fight for one course. Mr Mulanya said many children in universities and secondary schools depend on NG-CDF bursaries.
Budalangi MP Raphel Wanjala accused the executive of trying to starve Parliament of funds yet it had established the Hustler Fund, which he insisted was unconstitutional.