In his book ‘Episodes; From an MP’s Diary’, Sen. Eng. Muriuki Karue shares his journey on how development projects initiated through harambees did not see the light of day. The government never saw much need to support projects like classrooms and health centres to support the welfare of the people. This became his agenda when he joined politics as an MP in 1997.
Considered the father of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) which came to fruition in 2003, the then MP, now Senator for Nyandarua County felt that setting aside five percent of government revenue would help ensure such projects are undertaken and the elected leaders can tangibly contribute the welfare of the electorate.
This year will be the 12th, since CDF has been disbursed to Constituencies. When marking ten years of its existence, the CDF Board authored that a total of sh106, 906, 102, 651 had been disbursed from 2003 to 2013 in the then 210 constituencies.
Each year, allocations increased. In the financial year 2013-2014, a total of sh21,973,899,997 was allocated while in this financial year 2014-2015, sh33 billion has been allocated. It is evident that the trend of increasing is not only remarkable but critical to alleviating poverty, ignorance and disease, the three core problem Kenya embarked on at independence.
Today with the position of Women Representatives, some more allocations to counties are on the way. The passage of the Affirmative Action Social Development Bill, will see the 47 Women Reps secure Sh2.03 billion from Treasury for social empowerment in their counties. The empowerment ranges from drug abuse control among the youth to entrepreneurial skills empowerment to women and the youth.
The kitty will be implemented if the regulations to guide the implementation of the Fund are approved by the Committee on Delegated Legislation in the National Assembly. The Women MPs will be patrons of the fund with each County receiving about Sh40 million each and about Sh7 million per constituency.
It is clear that allocations to MPs in this financial year will be over sh35 billion, a colossal amount that should go into good use because it is taxpayers money. It is only fair that those who pay these taxes not only have a say in how the funds are used but also participate in the planning process.
Public participation is not only a value in the Constitution but also a principle in governance which needs to take root. The funds should be spent according to the electorate’s needs and priorities. Further, the public must carry out social audits of the funds usage to establish quality.
Citizens have the duty to engage in line with Article 3 of the Constitution. As Parliament re-opens, take time to suggest how you want your taxes to be spent. Please use the hash-tag #BungeKE2015 and your views will be presented to Parliament. You have until 2 February 2015 to express yourself.