The Supreme Court has delivered a ruling with far-reaching implications as it declared the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) Act 2013 unconstitutional. The law is the basis for the distribution of billions of shillings for development initiated at the constituency level.
The apex court ruled that the CDF Act violated the Constitutional principle on division of revenue. It also found that it offends the division of functions between national and county governments.
The court further ruled that the Act offends the Constitutional principle on separation of powers as well as Constitutional principles on Public Finance.
The CDF was established in 2003 via the CDF Act and is considered as one of the enduring legacies of the administration of the late President Mwai Kibaki. It stipulated that the government was to channel 2.5% of its ordinary revenue to the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) to be utilized at the Constituency level.
In 2007, the Act was amended to establish the National CDF Board at the constituency level replacing the National Committee. Serving Members of Parliament (MPs) serve as the Patrons of the constituency CDF committees.
The CDF Act 2013 was enacted on January 14th, 2013 and in doing so repealed the CDC Act 2007.
The legal challenge against the CDF Act 2013 was mounted by The Institute of Good Governance (TISA) and the Centre for Enhancing Democracy and Good Governance.
MPs have come under criticism in recent years for ignoring their legislative duties. The focus on administering CDF has been blamed by many for turning MPs’ attention away from their core mandate.
Many MPs prioritize delivering CDF-funded projects including schools. The ruling comes as Kenyans head to the polls on Tuesday, August 9 for a General Election to usher in new MPs as well as Governors, Senators, MCAs and President.