Bar MPs from poor counties cash, NGOs ask Senate

Civil society groups want the Senate to reject a constitutional amendment Bill passed by the National Assembly placing management of the Equalisation Fund under MPs.

The National Assembly on October 1 passed the Bill amending Article 204 of the Constitution removing management of the Sh6 billion fund from the national government.

Under the umbrella body, The Devolution Forum (TDF), the groups said the proposed law is unconstitutional and disregards a court ruling.

The groups said the Bill undermines the mandate of county governments by seeking to establish the constituency as an administrative unit.

“The proposed amendment offends the principle of separation of powers between the Executive and Legislature and the functional distinctness of the county governments,” said Wanjiku Gikonyo, a representative from TDF.

In February, the High Court declared the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) unconstitutional, giving the National Assembly 12 months to revise and align the fund with the law.

The court ruling barred legislators at the national and county level from participating in the administration and implementation of development projects in the counties.

“It is our view that the National Assembly seeks to circumvent the CDF High Court ruling through the proposed amendments,” said Ms Gikonyo.

The group submitted it memorandum to Senate Legal Affairs and Human Rights Committee calling for rejection of the amendment.

Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi is yet to forward the Bill to the Senate for review.