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Bunge Chronicles: Empty chamber consoles MPs crying over CDF

By Brian Otieno | Feb 13th 2022 | 2 min read

Parliament in session during the Budget reading of 2020/21 at the Parliament buildings, Nairobi. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

It must be tough being a retiring president. You fly a thousand miles to offer sage advice, and all everyone hears is 'kungulu kangala'.

That must have been what our beloved wahesh heard when the president, fresh from his Addis Ababa tour, told Mombasa residents, "Kazi inafanyiwa ofisini, si juu ya magari."   

Which explains why they are still out here testing whether the tops of their fuel guzzlers are made of the right material and whether their five-year shouting practice in Bunge is any good.

And hence the reason Speaker Justin Muturi was addressing empty seats in Bunge this past week. But to be fair to the honourable members of the august House, Bunge hardly looks or feels anything like an office. Bottles fly from wall to wall, punches from face to face. The frequent noise sends its generous contributions to making the place the least conducive environment for working. It's no wonder someone else does all their work for them.

Tucked in the middle of obscurity lie offices long-deserted, visited only on election years and when the wahesh's hands are not empty. Their hands are still empty, the MPs, the handful in the chamber on Tuesday, lamented.

The situation has made it impossible for MPs to visit their offices, whose ceilings are decorated with cobwebs. Blocking their access are endless queues of paupers with outstretched hands, each desperate for a share of taxpayer's money, redistributed as NGCDF, formerly CDF.

But the government has refused to disburse NGCDF, Kanduyi mhesh and the party leader of the newest chama in town, DAP-K, Wafula Wamunyinyi, told the empty seats before him.

"The funds have not been received," he said about the Sh2 billion Treasury had promised to them every week. Careful not to incite the seats into protesting, Wamunyinyi fashioned his voice into the most sleep-inducing tone.

The plan would have worked if his only audience were the seats. It would have also worked had the chair of the NGCDF committee kept mum on the exclusion of the funds in the proposed supplementary budget.

"If by the time the majority leader will be tabling the Supplementary Budget and there will be no CDF in our accounts, the supplementary will go down," Aldai mhesh Cornelly Serem threatened.

"We require these funds, unconditionally, for our children," he went on, expressing honesty on the intended destination of the funds, uncharacteristic for a mhesh.

His voice, turned up a few decibels, was enough to wake his colleagues that Wamunyinyi had soothed into slumber. And from empty seats, heads emerged, a sign that not everyone was spending their days atop their cars.

"Refusing to release the funds for this financial year... is taking Members of Parliament to the guillotine," lamented Funyula's Wilberforce Oundo.

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