CDF Is Here to Stay, Vow MPs in Appeal Plan

MPs have agreed to hire top lawyers in the country to represent them in the appeal they plan to lodge against a declaration by the High Court nullifying the Constituency Development Fund.

Yesterday, Rarieda MP Nicholas Gumbo led more than 50 legislators in saying they will ensure CDF remains intact and under their control.

He said the law should be amended by May this year.

Gumbo said that during their closed door meeting at Parliament Buildings yesterday, they identified high-flying lawyers, including Ochieng’ Oduor, Ahmednassir Abdullahi, George Oraro and Fred Ngatia.

“We are going for the Bull Moose lawyers. CDF is like an octopus whose tentacles are all over. That is why we are together in this fight; it is not a Gumbo affair. We are going to explore all the necessary amendments to ensure it is well anchored in the constitution,” Gumbo said.

Although the three High Court Judges Isaac Lenaola, Mumbi Ngugi and David Majanja nullified the Act, the invalidity was suspended for 12 months to give the national government time to amend it and align it with the constitution.

The Rarieda MP said legislators are willing to contribute money to pay the lawyers.

The 47 women’s representatives and 12 nominated MPs are not part of the arrangement.

Gumbo said that a committee of four members each from Cord and Jubilee has been constituted to ensure that “CDF is here to stay.”

Eldama Ravine MP Moses Lessonet said CDF is the best innovation in the world after Safaricom’s mobile money transfer M-Pesa.

“There is no cause for alarm. CDF is intact and the projects initiated will continue as planned. It does not belong to MPs but to the people,” he said.

By yesterday, members were seeking the concurrence of National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi for a Kamukunji (speaker’s informal meeting) today or Thursday to discuss the issue.

The membership to the bipartisan committee will be determined after the Kamukunji, though it is expected that Gumbo, who has been very vocal against abolishing the fund alongside the House CDF committee chairman Lessonet, will be nominated.

The committee will be the structural engagement in the appeal and is expected to decide the amount each of the 290 elected MPs will contribute, though a figure of Sh50,000 has been floated.

Gumbo said the CDF fight back plan will be dealt with irrespective of party affiliation.

“MPs are determined not to be divided along political lines. If we bring the issue of parties here it will collapse before it even starts. We will just handle it in Parliament,” he said.

Cord leader Raila Odinga has proposed to have the aligning of the CDF in the constitution included in the Okoa Kenya referendum campaign.