ODM MP calls for constitutional change to make constituencies primary unit of devolution
By Joshua Cheloti
Homa Bay Town Member of Parliament Peter Kaluma is now calling for a change in the Kenyan constitution.
Kaluma in a tweet posted on Wednesday, February 8, 2023, says it was time the constitution is changed to make constituencies a primary unit of devolution.
Currently, the constitution that was promulgated in 2010 recognizes counties as the primary unit of devolution.
But according to the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) legislator, constituencies have over the years demonstrated that they can be catalysts of development through the utilization of the National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF).
Under NG-CDF, each of the 290 constituencies receives about Ksh100 million to fund various infrastructural projects annually.
The fund has had a huge impact on society – an impact Kaluma wants to be extended by making constituencies the primary unit of devolution – and not counties as is the case today.
“Each constituency recieves less than 70 million CDF for infrastructure, mainly for schools. Imagine we gave each constituency 1billion development funding each year!”
”Let’s amend the Constitution of Kenya and make the Constituency, not county, the primary unit of devolution!” Kaluma tweeted.
NG-CDF, originally CDF was rolled out in 2003 following the passing of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) Act, 2003.
Originally, the act provided that, 2.5 per cent of the nation’s total revenue collection was to be channelled directly to the 210 constituencies through their sitting Members of Parliament (MPs).
This was later revised to 3.5 per cent in the 2006/7 fiscal year.
However, the CDF Act has undergone a series of amendments over the succeeding years in order to keep up with the dynamics unfolding in the country, especially since the adoption of the constitution in 2010.
The NG-CDF fund is defined, according to the Act’s 2013 repeal, as a portion of the national annual budget devoted to Kenya’s 290 constituencies for the purposes of infrastructural development, wealth creation and poverty eradication at the constituency level.
There have been controversies surrounding the fund after the Supreme Court declared the Act null and void.
However, the government has since agreed to disburse the funds, arguing that the apex court ruling was based on the CDF Act of 2003 and not the amended one – Constituencies Development Fund Act (No 30 of 2013).