Supreme Court in Kenya says Constituency Development Fund is illegal

The Supreme Court in Kenya yesterday ruled that the country’s Constituency Development Fund (CDF) Act is illegal and violates the doctrine of separation of powers between the executive and legislature by allowing Members of Parliament (MPs) to be involved in planning and implementation of CDF projects.

The five-judge panel of the Supreme Court said: “A declaration is hereby made that the Constituency Development Fund Act, 2013 is unconstitutional,” the verdict given by the five-judge bench read in part.

According to the Supreme Court, the CDF Act 2013 violates the constitutional principle on the division of revenue and amounts to an inter-governmental transfer of functions.

The ruling came after the Institute of Social Accountability (TISA) went to court to challenge the constitutionality of the act which was first introduced in 2003 and amended in 2007 before being repealed and replaced with the CDF Act 2013.

In Malawi, there is also Constituency Development Fund which is pegged at K100 million for each of the 193 constituencies in Malawi. The government increased the amount from K40 million earlier this year.

MPs are required to work with councils and local development committees in allocating the funds to projects and during implementation.

In the past, however, there have been reports of Members of Parliament abusing the funds. A report in 2017 showed that some legislators were sourcing quotations on their own, thereby taking the role of district council procurement committees. The funds have also led to conflicts between MPs and councillors.

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