Gov’t stopped from releasing CDF cash over unconstitutionality suit


Gov't stopped from releasing CDF cash over unconstitutionality suit

The High Court has stopped the government from releasing money set aside for the National Government Constituency Development Fund (NGCDF) until a case challenging it as unconstitutional is heard and determined.

Justice Joseph Onguto directed the Cabinet Secretary for Treasury Henry Rotich not to release any amount exceeding Ksh 25 billion meant for NGCDF for the financial year 2016/2017 pending the hearing and determination of the case.

Justice Onguto further recommended that a three-judge bench be constituted to hear the matter before a verdict on its constitutionality is delivered.

In the suit filed by activists Wanjiru Gikonyo and Cornelius Oduor Opuot, the duo want the court to declare NGCDF unconstitutional on grounds that it creates a third layer of governance that is not in the Constitution.

However, Members of Parliament led by Eldama Ravine’s Moses Lessonet argue that the National Government Constituency Development Fund (NGCDF) is nationwide and benefits a lot of people, especially those at the grassroots level.

They further argue that should the kitty be scrapped, the socio-economic rights of wananchi will be violated.

The National Assembly the NGCDF Act in 2015 and made it a new organ of the National Government after the court ruled that only counties are mandated to undertake development projects at the local level.

The government had allocated Ksh 34.5 billion to NGCDF for the 2016/17 fiscal year.

Treasury CS, while reading his budget speech in Parliament, said that the amount would help address the plight of the less disadvantaged in society, combat poverty, and promote equity.

Late June, President Uhuru Kenyatta nominated former Labour Cabinet Secretary Kambi Kazungu the chairperson of the National Government Constituency Development Fund (NGCDF).

The former CS will assume the new role upon approval by the National Assembly.

The National Assembly passed the NGCDF after the High Court sitting in Nairobi declared CDF unconstitutional and gave MPs one year to align it with the Constitution of Kenya 2010.

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Story By Dzuya Walter
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