8 April 2013

Kenya: Public to Elect Constituency Development Fund Committee Members

Nairobi — Members of Parliament have until May 13 to organise the election of their Constituency Development Fund (CDF) committees which will oversee projects to be prioritised in their areas.

According to the amended CDF Act 2013, the MPs should convene open public meetings of registered voters in their constituencies in each of the elective wards within the first 40 days after the swearing-in ceremony.

The committees shall have a maximum 10 members and half of them should be elected by the public.

A circular by the National CDF Board says the MPs who were sworn in on two weeks ago are supposed to notify residents within wards in their constituencies of the meeting that shall carry out the elections.

The Act stipulates that the committee shall comprise three men and three women with one man and one woman each being a youth between 18 and 35 years. The board shall also include one person with disability.

Such appointment should also consider issues such as communal, religious, social and cultural interests in the constituency and the requirements of gender, youth and representation of persons with disability.

"Upon receiving the names from all the wards in the constituency, the MP in consultation with the Fund Account Manager and the sub county administrator for the constituency shall appoint eight persons to the committee taking into account the geographical diversity with the constituency," said a notice by the CDF Board.

The CDF Act, 2013, redefines the role of MPs in line with the Constitution and allows them to participate merely in mobilizing community members for project identification.

This means MPs can no longer allocate projects to reward their cronies and none can make decisions arbitrarily regarding the usage of funds.

The Act has also made it mandatory that the names of the CDF committee be published in the Kenya Gazette.

Administration of the fund has now been effectively transferred to a board official who will act as the Authority to Incur Expenditure (AIE) holder and be accountable for any loss or embezzlement of the money.

MPs will henceforth sit on CDF committees as ex-officio members exercising only the oversight role on projects.

The Act also mandates the MP to convene forums in every Ward in the constituency to deliberate on development matters in the area.

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