Over the last ten years the Kenyan Government has intensified the use of decentralized programs in its strategy to tackle poverty and reverse regional disparities. A prime example of this policy is the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) launched in 2003. The CDF allocates resources to all of the 210 constituencies, taking into account constituency poverty levels. The CDF is designed to consider local needs and preferences, by stipulating that the MP of each constituency should decide along with members of the local community how to use the funds to tackle poverty. In practice however, there have been concerns that the participation of residents in the decision making has been limited, and that the role of MPs as legislators, implementors and auditors of the fund reduces incentives for transparency and good management of the fund.
Two nationally representative voter surveys were conducted by the Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE) just before and after the 2007 election, examining whether the way MPs managed the Constituency Development Fund affected their re-election chances in a country where voting has traditionally been motivated by ethnic ties rather than the performance of politicians. This Briefing presents how the CDF was used and a summary of the key preliminary findings from the CSAE surveys.
iiG Briefing Paper 02, 12 pp.