Drama in Parliament after MPs protest delayed funds release

Wednesday, December 6th, 2023 04:00 | By
A section of Azimio la Umoja MP’s protest over lack of CDF, They are demanding for the National Treasury to release the amount before recess. PHOTO/Kenna Claude
A section of Azimio la Umoja MP’s protest over lack of CDF, They are demanding for the National Treasury to release the amount before recess. PHOTO/Kenna Claude

Paralysed parliamentary business to protest delays by the National Treasury to release funds for National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF) and National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF).

The lawmakers, who staged a walk-out from the Chamber vowed not to go on recess scheduled for tomorrow or transact any business until the National Treasury wires the billions owed to them.

While chanting “no CDF, no recess” they accused the National Treasury of lack of transparency in the matter, a move they claimed had resulted in the delay in remittance of the funds.

So bad was the situation that some of the lawmakers, a majority from the Opposition, formed a buffer line at the entry of the Chamber to prevent members from accessing it to meet the required quorum of 50 Members of Parliament (MPs) which is the threshold set for the House to transact business.

Among the legislators caught up in the mess was Majority Whip and South Mugirango MP Silvanus Osoro who was hoisted up in the air when he tried to gain entry into the chambers. The MPs told Osoro he would only be allowed in if he convinced them that the Treasury had wired their money.

This is not the first time MPs are staging a stand-off with the government over the CDF funds.

In February this year, they threatened to frustrate passage of the supplementary budget if the money was not released on time after NG-CDF board CEO Yusuf Mbuno told them only Sh10billion of the Sh44.2 billion intended to be released had been disbursed.

The chaos and commotion started after Leader of Minority Opiyo Wandayi rose on a point of order demanding to know when the National Treasury would wire the said monies to their respective accounts.
Wandayi, who whipped up MPs’ emotion, said it was wrong that their money has not been wired to their CDF accounts yet they are supposed to proceed for the long recess starting Friday.

The MPs are supposed to break for the December holidays beginning Friday and will resume normal business in February.

He said: “We are now in the 10th month of the 2023/24 financial year and since this House disbursed funds no single cent has hit the accounts of the constituencies. This House is going for a long recess yet we know that school children are opening school in the first school of January. Those who sat KCPE are joining form one in that same period yet the counties have no funds.”

Wandayi regretted that without NGCDF bursaries and NGAAF more than three quarters of the students will not go back to school.

He added: “The House would also be in order not to handle any other business in sympathy with the children of hustlers suffering out there and not knowing how they are going back to school.”

Leader of Majority Kimani Ichung’wah, who also spoke after Wandayi raised the matter, was unable to convince members that the money would be sent as they are in talks with the National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung’u.

And although he admitted that the funds issue was a pressing issue, he assured the MPs that the monies would be released before Thursday, a move that was objected by the members who kept on chanting “we want the money today (Tuesday)” and “no CDF no recess.”

He said: “I agree that this is a matter that ought to be treated with special attention. We have taken up this matter with the National treasury which must deal with the twin issues of money to parliament and money towards NG-CDF through the state department for planning.”

He added: “I have engaged with the CS, NG-CDF CEO and state department Cabinet Secretary. They have indicated that they are working on ensuring there will be disbursements for the funds by the time we break.” His sentiments however attracted the wrath of members who demanded that President William Ruto intervene.

Rangwe lawmaker Lilian Gogo told Ruto to do everything possible to ensure that the money is wired into the NG-CDF accounts.

He said: “President William Ruto must drop everything he is doing and come back to the country and sort out this mess of NG-CDF. Without the funds children all works of life will continue suffering.”

Nyando MP Jared Okello said a majority of MPs had stalled projects and were scared of showing face in the village due to lack of the funds.“We are saying we have suspended any parliamentary business, any government business until the entire CDF amounts are disbursed to our constituencies.”

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