By now we are probably all aware of the fact that the Treasury released 10.1 billion shillings to CDF boards for the completion of pending CDF projects. According to a report in the Daily Nation:
‘The Treasury on Wednesday gave MPs and their constituents’ reason to celebrate as it released Sh10.1 billion for the completion of pending Constituency Development Fund projects. Finance minister Njeru Githae made the announcement to a handful of MPs in Parliament on Wednesday morning. He said the disbursement of the money to the CDF board was accompanied by a circular to recall district accountants on leave. They will only be allowed to take their vacation after the General Election. “The CDF Management Board should disburse the money immediately because all applications there have been approved,” said Mr Githae (read full story here.)’
I’m sure that I am not the only one wondering why the money was released at the 11th hour. And it is the 11th hour, the law requires that the Parliament be dissolved sometime this or next month to pave way for the election. Surely the treasury did not just find out less than three months to the next general election that there were still to be completed CDF projects? Plus one wonders what can be accomplished in two months that has not been done already, or can we except to see a slew of finished CDF projects in the next coming months?
I am suspicious, and I’m sure not alone in my suspicions, when large amounts of money are disbursed to the stewardship of Members of Parliament right before the election. And while it is not entirely implausible that the 10.1 billion shillings will actually be used to complete pending CDF projects, but past history of CDF indicates this is not the case, last year there was a report in the newspaper that stated that 25 billion shillings lost through graft of CDF country wide (read story here). So collective suspicion about the treasury releasing 10.1 billion shillings right before the election may be warranted given our history of misappropriated CDF.
Other questions that come to mind are who is going to audit the expenditure of the CDF to ensure the money was spent as intended? And when will the auditing be done? And has potential accountability loophole has been considered? If there is a misappropriation of funds is the winner of the seat if someone other they incumbent they always have the excuse that the misappropriation did not take place on their watch.
On the other hand incumbent MPs may finish the projects because finished projects/and the show of money to do projects or to otherwise help constituents is a particularly powerful campaign tool. Particularly if the construed that the CDF is gift from the incumbent rather than public funds owned by the people.
What are your thoughts on the Treasury releasing 10.1 billion shillings for CDF in the considering the elections are less than two months away?