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CDF is an important component of grassroot development

23 February 2015, 15:06 Paul Orodi

Nairobi - Finances are a crucial topic in every economy. How they are acquired and spent always raise eyebrows and to some extent can cost an individual his or her office. Back in 2002 when the Narc government took over from KANU, there was a set of reforms that came into place - free primary education, improved infrastructure, better health services and most important and unprecedented was the introduction of the Constituency Development Fund otherwise known as CDF.

President Kibaki envisioned a better Kenya on all fronts and as a result, he sought ways and means of improving the lives of ordinary 'wananchi' in the quickest way possible. He decided to push Parliament to pass a bill that would introduce the famous CDF. This money would be dished to constituencies through the region MP who would then map out strategies on how to utilise the money through a CDF board.

Ten years down the line one can see evidence of the funds being channeled to the lowest levels. Schools and health centres have been built, children taken to school using bursaries from the fund, roads upgraded and rehabilitated and so much more.

However, in every organised progressive system there never lacks one or two notorious persons who always want to go against the good. CDF has brought shame upon a number of MPs because of allegations of misappropriation and embezzlement. Some legislators have even been paraded in court to face charges.

With the promulgation of the constitution, MPs duties and roles have been spelt out clearly and the include; legislation, oversight and representation of the people. There is no longer need of them playing a primary role in development since the county governments now exist and that means the counties can handle their people's desired developments.

This way we can have people continue to benefit from the fund with MPs playing their role of oversight to ensure proper utilization of the monies. Doing away with the fund will only dent the lives of ordinary Kenyans.

The ministry of devolution and planning through the Cabinet Secretary has proposed the scrapping off of the CDF. Their reasons are valid although they may cause a vacuum especially where children depend on the funds for school fees, reading equipment and more. Constituents will feel the pinch when it will no longer be possible to have a health centre built around their area of residence.

Waiguru should listen to suggestions from citizens, leaders and qualified experts on financial, economic and legal matters. According to the chairman of the Commission on Implementation of the Constitution, the CDF plays a vital role in the lives of Kenyans and should be disbursed as usual but not through the MPs rather through County governments as a conditional grant according to the constitution.

Doing away with the fund will affect the lives of ordinary Kenyans who depend on it for access to some of the most important social services. It should be disbursed for use in constituencies and MPs play their role of oversight to ensure the funds are utilized proper and for the benefit of Kenyans.

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