Members of Parliament (MPs) have set aside their political differences and joined forces to contest last week’s High Court ruling that declared the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) unconstitutional.
Both Jubilee and CORD legislators yesterday ventilate on the matter in Parliament and even went ahead to institute a Harambee (fundraising) in order to raise the legal fees for an appeal. They agreed to contribute Sh50, 000 each to cover the cost of hiring the lawyers who will represent them.
MPs. “This is not a simplistic argument CDF is here to stay. Let us ready ourselves. This is a game of chess. It is either we have incompetent lawyers or the courts are belligerent to the plight of Kenyans. The courts have spoken, but they are a creation of the National Assembly. We can speak louder than them. We fund them,” said Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo.
Last week, high court judges Isaac Lenaola, Mumbi Ngugi and David Majanja said the CDF law, which gives MPs 2.5 per cent of all national government ordinary revenue, was unconstitutional as it offends the principle of separation of powers between the executive and the legislature.
They said the Constitution had been violated by failure to involve the Senate when the law was amended two years ago. The judges said the involvement of MPs and senators in the fund’s administration threatens to violate the division of functions between the national and county governments.
They said it was unconstitutional for the national government to extend its mandate to counties.
“MPs and Cabinet Secretaries involved in the management of the fund constitute the executive and legislative organs of the national government,” they ruled.
The judges called on lawmakers to correct the defective legislation within 12 months.
The CDF was introduced in 2003 during the Kibaki presidency with the aim of supporting constituency-level, grass-root development projects.