Include ward development fund in proposed amendment of law

Pupils at Emukangu Primary School in Lurambi play outside their muddy classroom. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

Members of the National Assembly, led by Matungulu MP Stephen Mule and Gichugu MP Robert Gichumu, have initiated proposal in Parliament to amend the Constitution in a bid to retain the National Constituency Development Fund.

This follows the Supreme Court's ruling, which rendered the Constituency Development Fund Act of 2013, unconstitutional.

The said amendment targets the National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF), National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF), the Economic Stimulus Empowerment Fund and the Senate Oversight Fund.

The president, through a memorandum to speakers of both houses, has supported the initiative and urged the speakers to facilitate and expedite the process. While the justification for the amendment is sound, there is a glaring exclusion of a Fund that will enhance growth in our villages and ensure equitable sharing of devolved funds in our counties - County Ward Equitable Development Fund.

This move has prompted the County Assembly Forum (CAF) which is the coordinating body of the 47 County Assemblies to rally all the 47 County Assemblies in Kenya to petition the National Assembly to incorporate the County Ward Equitable Development Fund in the proposed Constitutional Amendment Bill.

CAF, whose primary mandate is to promote networking and synergy amongst the 47 County Assemblies, recently urged each county assembly to move a motion to pass the petition for the same to be forwarded to the National Assembly for consideration.

Inclusion of County Ward Equitable Development Fund in the said amendments will give effect to Chapter 11 of the Constitution on the objects of devolution, which is to take development to the smallest units of devolution.

It will further promote equitable development across all wards and allow participation of residents of each county and respective wards in the identification of priority projects.

The Fund seeks to promote the decentralisation of development within the counties by creating a framework for identifying projects that are beneficial to the residents of the respective wards and the county in general and providing a framework for the implementation of such projects.

The proposed Bill in amending Article 204 of the Constitution with respect to County Ward Equitable Development Fund shall provide thus; One, that each county government shall allocate funds comprising of county's annual budget estimates or as advised by the Commission on Revenue Allocation during the enactment of the County Allocation of Revenue Act to cater for County Wards Equitable Development Fund.

Two, that all monies allocated to County Ward Equitable Development Fund shall be considered as funds allocated to wards pursuant to Article 206 (2) (c) to be administered in accordance with the provisions of an Act of Parliament; and, three, that Parliament shall enact a legislation to provide for the administration of the County Ward Equitable Development Fund.

It is worth noting that, there is currently no national law that creates and provides for administration of County Ward Equitable Development Fund. Past efforts by the Senate to enact the law lapsed with the end of the last Parliament.

Kenyans and all assemblies are now looking upon the current Parliament to make this aspiration a reality by including the Fund in the current constitutional amendment.