THE CONSTITUENCY DEVELOPMENT FUND CITIZENS REPORT CARD;IS IT A CASE OF A BRILLIANT MATHEMATICAL FORMULAR IN THE HANDS OF HISTORIANS WHICH IS GOING DOWN THE DRAINS? By Mungai

According to a recent study report done by the Daily Nation Taxpayers Association (N.T.A) on the Constituency Development Fund and Local Authority Transfer Fund concluded that the funds has been performing below the par. Its well intended purposes haven’t been catered for adequately due to mismanagement, corruption and poor workmanship.

During the launch of the C.D.F citizens report card, the report noted that the projects that were intended for these funds are either incomplete, badly built thus poor quality construction hence the money is wasted. Others are abandoned projects which are incomplete and not funded in the subsequent years hence taxpayer’s money is wasted.

The other pinpointed highlights are the ghost projects where funds are allocated but projects do not exist physically. Based on these assessments the N.T.A analyses that the total value of projects where taxpayer’s money has been badly used-wasted. The un-accounted funds where funds awarded to the project is more and the actual spent is less.

Overall, the N.T.A report exposed corruption and how the C.D.F and L.A.T.F has emerged as the new instrument of patronage, turned into another source of largesse. Corrupt deals, unaccounted funds and white elephant projects have been cited as one of the failures that makes the C.D.F such a failure.

But basically speaking the C.D.F was a good intentioned brilliant idea which was meant to help fund projects in the constituency level. This innovative initiative was hailed as one of its kind which would have bolstered development at the grass root levels. The C.D.F was an initiative of the N.A.R.C Government after it came to power in 2002.It was a mean of devolving funds to the constituency to help uplift the living standards of the people by funding various projects.

It was established and constituted through an Act of Parliament in 2003.But over the years there has been a rallying call to re-constitute the funds principle laws amend it and make it more stringent, transparent and accountable.

To most observers the biggest blunder that was made was to place the funds management in the hands of politicians. It was a good omen to the members of Parliament who were made the head of these funds.

The M.Ps has over the years turned these funds to a political tool, where they do fund the project of where they got massive support. It is also a rewarding tool for their loyalists and cronies who happen to head these funds, thus sabotaging management and accountability. Transparency and efficiency is thrown out of the window as they move about in their quest to cater their interest to their favor.

According to N.T.A methodology-over the last 2 years it has developed a robust methodology to audit C.D.F and L.A.F.T projects. Based on the C.D.F projects lists they got from the C.D.F board website, committees and fund managers. The N.A.T sends trained social auditors to visit each project where they took numerous digital pictures of the infrastructure as well as detailed notes on Rapid Assessment Form. All these information was then assessed through desk review by qualified professional engineers or quality surveyors with expertise in the documented infrastructure. Each engineer was tasked to independently assess the quality of construction and the expected value range of the infrastructure.

What is Daily Nation Taxpayers Association? Is it a national volunteer based organization established to improve the delivery of services and the management of devolved funds for the benefit of all Kenyans? The association was established in April 2006 by a coalition of leaders from the civil society, private sector and public sectors. Among the activities of N.T.A is the compilation and dissemination of citizens’ report cards on the provision of services and the management of devolved funds in constituencies and local authorities.

Concerning the audit, the N.T.A audit was for the period covering the financial years 2006-2007 and 2007-2008.According to the findings over shs.500 million was wasted, misused ir unaccounted for in the audited constituencies and local authorities.

But has the funds benefited the Kenya citizens and has they served their intended purposes? Or is it a case of brilliant mathematical formula in the hands of historians which is going down the drain?

In the murky of all these we cannot downplay the gains of the funds, thus we cannot throw the baby with the bathwater as C.D.F has transformed some constituencies where it has been run transparently with sound management. Projects have been initiated by these funds and therefore there are gainsaid of these funds. What needs to be done is streamlining its operations, governance and management so that it can be efficient and transparent.

According to Daily Nations columnist, Jaindi Kisero, while commenting on these issues wrote that Kenya needs more of such association to keep tabs on what the state is doing at the grass root levels. He wrote that C.D.F as an institution should be made to see the difference between quantitative growth and qualitative development. History will record that the greatest mistake the C.D.F made was to make the far much less investment in human resources-family planning, nutrition and public health than in brick and mortar.

He concludes that, what is the point of raising millions for cattle dips with no idea of how to run them.


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