Inside Politics

Senate sets up team to scrutinise proposed NG-CDF bill

Thursday, November 10th, 2022 05:00 | By
Senate of Kenya. PHOTO/Courtesy
Senate of Kenya. PHOTO/Courtesy

Senators have now formed a lean committee to look into the draft Constitutional amendment bill on the National Government–Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF), Senate Oversight Fund (SOF) and the National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF).

The lawmakers have picked William Cheptumo (Baringo), Hillary Sigei (Bomet), Okong’o Omogeni (Nyamira) and Catherine Mumma (Nominated) to review the Supreme Court judgment that ruled that CDF is unconstitutional.

In a “Kamukunji” convened by Speaker Amason Kingi, the legislators said all issues surrounding the funds and the Constitutional Amendment bill should be thoroughly scrutinised before they reach a decision.

The four-member committee is mandated to look at the constitutionality of the bill, the Supreme Court judgment and the structure of the fund.

Dan Maanzo (Makueni) said the Senators took the step to set up the committee because of the gravity of the issue touching on the proposed establishment of the funds.

“We have agreed to have four Senators who are lawyers two from the two leading coalitions to look at the Supreme Court judgement and the Constitutionality of the proposed amendment,” said Maanzo.

He said there was need to look at the judgement if it touches on role of Parliament, which, he argued, must go through a referendum.

Powers separation

Maanzo said any Kenyan could go to court and stop such an amendment if it is unconstitutional.

“It is just important for us to make it right from the beginning. I also urge my colleagues in the National Assembly who are coming up with this bill to thoroughly scrutinise the Supreme Court judgement lest the bill suffers in the hands of the court,” he said.

A bench of five judges led by Chief Justice Martha Koome ruled that the CDF Act (2013) violates the principle of separation of powers, hence was unconstitutional.

While overturning the Court of Appeal decision that upheld the CDF Act, the Supreme Court said it was unconstitutional to the extent that it sought to extend the national government’s mandate to counties.

Matungulu MP Steven Mule and his Gichugu counterpart Gichimu Githinji have co-sponsored a Constitutional amendment bill to establish NG-CDF, the National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF), the Senate Oversight Fund (SOF) and the Economic Stimulus and Empowerment Fund in the Constitution.

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