No CDF, No Parliament! MPs stage walkout over CDF disbursement

Lawmakers say they have not received a coin six months since appropriating cash

In Summary

• The House majority leader assures members matter to be resolved by the end of the week.

•MPs stage quorum hitch over the standoff.

National Assembly members in session.
SPECIAL SITTING: National Assembly members in session.
Image: FILE

Members of the National Assembly on Tuesday staged a walkout of the house chambers protesting the delayed disbursement of CDF.

In a rare show of unity, both Kenya Kwanza and Azimio teamed up to frustrate the afternoon business of the August House.

The events followed after Minority leader Opiyo Wandayi, rising on a point of order, urged members to stop any legislative business until the matter is resolved.

“We are now in the sixth month of the FY 2023/2024. As we speak since this House appropriated funds to the NG-CDF board for disbursement to respective NG-CDF committees, not a single cent has hit the bank accounts of these committees, and definitely NGAAF,” Wandayi said.

The Ugunja lawmaker accused the Treasury of taking MPs into circles when it came to the matter of CDF.

“I rise to seek your guidance in the sense that this House is poised to proceed on a very long recess from this Thursday, yet we know that school children are opening schools in the first week of January,” he added.

Wandayi went on, “Much more important is that those who sat their KCPE exams are joining form one in that same period. Without bursary, which is provided for within the NGCDF and NGAAF framework, more than three-quarters will not go back to school.”

“We have not been told yet, what is the justification for the National Treasury not releasing the funds which are earmarked for the NGCDF to the NGCDF board, we are not aware,” the MP explained.

But his Majority counterpart Kimani Ichungwah said talks between the CDF board and the Treasury were at advanced stages with a view to the funds being released soon.

"The NG-CDF board CEO has indicated to me that they must act quickly so that no constituency is left behind. There are about 36 constituencies whose proposals are yet to be approved," he said.

“I have indicated to the National Treasury and the CDF board that the lack of proposals should not affect many of us. With or without a proposal we must call them to disburse up to at least 40 per cent for bursaries,” the Kikuyu MP said.

His pleas to members of the August House to exercise patience on the matter, however, fell on deaf ears.

“We hope that the money will be wired either tomorrow afternoon or latest Thursday,” the Majority leader added.

Even so, the lawmakers walked out of the chamber chanting slogans against the concerned authorities.

Shouts of "No CDF, No Parliament" rented the air as the MPs blocked their colleagues from accessing the chamber for the day's schedule.

The quorum bell went unresponded to, forcing the presiding speaker Gladys Shollei to adjourn the sitting for lack of quorum.

A section of MPs raised concerns that the House may have ceded a lot of power to the executive, especially on matters of budgeting.

"We are suffering as a House because we have ceded our work to the Executive," said Ugenya MP David Ochieng, “It is unbelievable that we are in a situation where we have to wait for CDF monies.”

“We must, as MPs, take our role seriously, especially in the budget-making process. We have allowed the executive a lot of leeway. If anything happens to our children, it would be because of us and not the executive,” the Ugenya MP said.

House CDF committee chairman Moses Lessonet assured his counterparts the board would disburse the monies this week.

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