On 19th April 2022, we held our weekly coffee bar Tuesday discussing the role of National Government Constituency Development Fund (NG-CDF) formally known as Constituency Development Fund (CDF) and how it’s being used a political tool. Through the discussions, most people pointed out NG-CDF not only is it used as tool to seek votes but also as a manifesto. Most people are tricked in voting for someone because of something they received through the office or promises of what the office shall do.
According to book, the NG-CDF should have a committee. The committee should at least have 10 people from the community – There should be representation of youth, women and people living with disability. The Member of Parliament should convene public forums to elect people from the elective wards. However, it’s noted that most of NG-CDF offices are composed with committees that either belong to the same party or are supporters of the Member of Parliament.
Member of Parliament is the patron of the NG-CDF but this has changed to them controlling the funds. An example given – most of the bursaries given have pictures of the MPs which most participants felt it shouldn’t be like that since this is not their initiative.
The NG-CDF should conduct public participation to understand what community priorities are. Most of the time, projects conducted by NG-CDF are usually not community’s priority.
“Imagine a school getting a bus and they are not in a position to fuel it. The priority for that school should be a feeding program, desks or getting more classes.” Participant says
The main aim of the discussion was to understand that NG-CDF is not a favor but its a right that you’re entitled to. No one should make you feel like they are doing you a favor because you’re getting a bursary, a road or a desk. It was also noted that the community is not aware of the money allocated in each financial year or how much is allocated to different sectors such as education, health, sports and arts infrastructure or disaster among others.
There’s still confusion on county and national government projects. It been noted there are projects that have double allocations from the county and national. The community doesn’t understand which projects should be conducted by county or national government. This makes it easy to embezzle money allocated to those projects.
But with all the loopholes noticed, what can we do?
- NG-CDF should not be used a manifesto
- We should interact with NG-CDF office to understand how it operates,
- We should not be enslaved because we got bursaries, desks, road or any help from office.
- Understand the role of Member of Parliament on NG-CDF.
- How we can hold the office accountable.
- To understand how much is being allocated to their constituencies (Check Out NG-CDF website)
Coffee bar Tuesday is a platform for discussions on issues affecting us and how we can be the solutions to the issues. We believe change is inevitable and it all starts with you. See you on Tuesday!