Senators criticize MPs’ move on Senate Fund

2 min

Mombasa Governor Abdulswamad Nassir, Senate Deputy Speaker Kathuri Murungi, Kakamega Senator Bonnie Khalwale and Uasin Gishu Senator Jackson Mandago consult during Senate Induction Retreat in Mombasa on November 2,2022. [Edwin Nyarangi, Standard]

Senators have accused MPs of plotting to anchor the National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF) and the proposed Senate Oversight Fund in the Constitution, without involving them

Speaking during a retreat in Mombasa on Wednesday, the senators vowed to reject the proposed changes and accused the National Assembly of overlooking their input in coming up with the proposals.

Matungulu MP Steve Mule and Gichugu MP Gichimu Githinji have jointly sponsored the Constitutional Amendment Bill 2022 to anchor the NG-CDF, the National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF), Senate Oversight Fund (SOF) and the Economic Stimulus Empowerment Fund in the Constitution.

Mule and Gichimu are proposing to increase the NG-CDF kitty from 2.5 per cent of national revenue to five per cent, NGAAF to 0.25 per cent and SOF to 0.001 per cent of the national revenue.

“Our goal is to ensure these funds are safeguarded in the Constitution and we will be involving the members of both Houses to ensure that this is achieved, we will not rest until this is achieved,” said Mule.

Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna said that the proposal was full of contempt and they are not going to support it since the Senate was left in the dark when the National Assembly was coming up with it.

“Senators are not going to support these frivolous proposals which we do not know how they came up with. We are to show that we also matter when it comes to issues of national importance,” said Mr Sifuna.

Feel insulted 

Kitui Senator Enoch Wambua said that the Senate and National Assembly were established under the same article of the Constitution and none can purport to be superior to the other.

Mr Wambua wondered why some MPs believe that they can legislate matters on behalf of the Senate and demanded to know how someone came up with five per cent for NG-CDF and 0.001 per cent for SOF.

“Members of the Senate feel insulted by their colleagues in the National Assembly who are discussing our welfare without involving us yet we are very much around,” he said.

Nyamira Senator Okong’o Omogeni wanted to know the criteria used to give MPs a huge figure while giving what he called “token to senators who represent a larger constituency.”

Mr Omogeni insisted that a discussion should have been held between the two Houses before they arrive at the figures which should be commensurate with their status in the society.

Busia Senator Okiya Omtatah termed the proposal by MPs unconstitutional, saying the allocation meant for NG-CDF should be channelled through the county governments.

“Our courts have already declared the Constituency Development Fund unconstitutional. MPs are only supposed to provide oversight roles and not be the ones managing funds meant for development,” said Mr Omtatah.

Five Supreme Court judges led by Chief Justice Martha Koome delivered a judgement to the effect that the CDF act 2013 violates the Principle of Separation of Powers.

The Koome-led bench ruled that the CDF Act was unconstitutional since it aimed to extend the national government mandate to the counties.

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