The Constituencies Development Fund (CDF) was created by the Constituencies Development Fund Act of 2003 with the primary objective of addressing poverty at grassroots level. This is done by dedicating a minimum of 2.5 per cent of the government’s revenue to grassroots development and the reduction of poverty.
In January 2013, the CDF Act 2003 (as amended in 2007) was repealed and replaced with CDF Act 2013. But the CDF Act was unconstitutional and thereby replaced by the National Government Constituencies Development Fund Act, 2015 (NG-CDF). So all story suggestions about the old CDF only apply to events before the end of the 2015/16 financial year.
The fund should be an intervention fund that addresses the basic needs of wananchi, most of which may not have been taken into consideration by other organs of government.
The allocations to the 290 constituencies could be looked up on the CDF Board’s website before it went offline in August 2016. In the 2015/16 financial year, the allocation summed up to more than 33 bn KES – which is an average of more than 100 million KES per constituency.
On the same website you could also look up the project lists for each constituency. The lists comprise mainly the 2013/14 and 2014/15 financial years. In some cases the constituencies also inform about the implementation status of the projects.
Going forward, with the new law, National Government Constituencies Development Fund (NG-CDF) will only focus on community projects that fall under the National Government – read here about the changes .
With a little bit of reading and first-hand research, you will find that there are plenty of exclusive stories to track down.
Remember: Not every story must cover a case of corruption.
In the wake of constructive journalism it is also good to report on success stories. “News is what is different”… A story that focuses and identifies areas with good governance is a breath of fresh air in a country where everyone expects to find corruption everywhere!
Stories on the use of the CDF so far:
- What projects are run by the CDF in your county? Have any been implemented?
Since the MCA and MP plays a large role in this, the story is good for evaluating their respective track records should either choose to vie in the upcoming 2017 elections.
- Did the local CDF committee do anything with the 5 percent of the fund set aside for emergencies in accordance with Sec. 12 of the CDF Act?
- Sometimes CDF sets aside money as stipends for needy local students. Who are these students? Did any of them receive these stipends? If not, this should also be reported …(Just one example is the Changamwe CDF, ext. link – pdf which has set aside 15 million KES for students in 2013/14). Link is broken, because CDF page is offline as of Sep 7.2016. Let us hope the new NG-CDF Board uploads all the documents which the CDF Board had online. If not, we at RoGGKenya have a copy of the old cdf.go.ke website and may upload it.
- What were the irregularities and critique that the Auditor General found when auditing the CDF in the counties? Check your county’s CDF report found here OAG page. (As of August 2016, the 2013/14 reports are still the latest). What was the follow-up in the counties about these reports? Has the county assembly’s PAC taken action, have recommendations been followed?
- How was public participation included in the process?
Stories on the transition to the new NG-CDF
- How is the transition taking place at the Constituency level from the old structure to the new one? This is especially critical for projects that were being undertaken. Do they abide by various legal frameworks?
- What are some of the community projects and programs that the National Government could undertake in communities? Here, you will need to read schedule 4 of the Constitution to find the roles of both national and county governments to understand better where the line is drawn.
- Who will constitute members of the oversight of the NG-CDF? These men and women hold the key to the success of the fund. It will be important to see through their appointment process and ensure they maintain fidelity to their jobs to oversee the fund.
- A host of stories will soon come up once the implementation commences. This will start from project initiation, public participation, procurement process and quality of the delivery of the project.
- Emergency Reserve. A portion of the Fund, equivalent to 5 per cent is to remain un-allocated and shall be available for emergencies that may occur within the Constituency. “Emergency” means an ‘urgent, unforeseen need for expenditure for which it is in the opinion of the committee that it cannot be delayed until the next financial year without harming the public interest of the constituents.’ This is an area to really look at, especially since it will be at the Constituency level.
- This law dictates more public participation in projects before their commencement. What forms will they take in constituencies? Will citizens’ views be considered and incorporated?
- The MP of the constituency, alongside not more than four other people comprise the oversight committee. The other four are to be appointed by the National Assembly in consultations with other stakeholders. It will be vital to look at how they undertake this function, a separation from the past practice.
- General questions you may have in mind: The Kenyan State should take care of the needs of all citizens. Is the CDF effectively adding to this or is it in an unnecessary and inefficient manner taking over some of the tasks that should remain with the general administration? Is it really better when the MP and some others take over the task of professional administrators?