Blow to Uhuru, Raila senators in explosive revenue sharing plan

Wednesday, August 12th, 2020 00:00 |
Senators Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo Marakwet), John Kinyua (laikipia), Susan Kihika (Nakuru) and Christopher Lagat (Bomet) when they attended yesterday’s Revenue Sharing Formula session. Photo/PD/SAMUEL KARIUKI

Senators allied to President Uhuru Kenyatta and Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga suffered a defeat in the fight for revenue sharing in the counties after an amendment seeking to retain the second-generation formula carried the day.

The amendment by Nairobi Senator Johnstone Sakaja sought to have the Senate retain the second-generation formula to continue being operational after failing to agree on the third-generation allocations.

Speaker Kenneth Lusaka was forced to adjourn the sitting to  tomorrow to beat the national curfew time.

Sakaja (Nairobi) and his Meru counterpart Mithika Linturi had merged their revenue formula proposals in a bid to seek broad-based support for a win-win revenue sharing matrix.

During the vote, the team supporting the marginalised counties, calling itself “Kenya moja” axis, whose allocations have been slashed in the new formula, carried the day beating the pro- Uhuru/Raila caucus by 25 votes to 20.

In essence, the success of the amendment meant that the report of the Finance and Budget Committee that considered the formula as developed by the Commission of Revenue Allocation (CRA), which benefits counties with a large population and disadvantages those with a huge landmass and smaller population was amended to read that the current formula will continued to be applied without alterations.

Devolved units

 The stalemate has now left the 47 devolved units facing an imminent cash crisis, threatening the delivery of crucial services.

 “We are supporting an amendment sponsored by Linturi, which retains the parameters contained in Sakaja’s original amendment but only lowers the amount that will be shared to the counties using the existing resolution,” Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen explained.

Under their new proposal, the amount shared to counties shall range between Sh250 billion and Sh270 billion.

The ‘Kenya Moja‘ axis which also included Senators Mutula Kilonzo (Makueni) and Ledama ole Kina (Narok) had earlier resolved to consolidate their amendments to two.

In a heated debate that preceded the vote, senators exchanged harsh words as they pushed to justify the proposed allocations.

“It will be immoral & ungodly for me, the senator of Kakamega who got my leadership from God, to take away money from Turkana and bring it to Kakamega, it will be ungodly for me to take food from a hungry child in Marsabit and take it to Bungoma County” retorted Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala.

Majority Whip, Irungu Kang’ata (Murang’a) who has been vocal in the support for the proposed new formula, told his colleagues that they erred when they rejected his motion last week that called for the new formula to be applied for two years.

“They want to make Murang’a County lose Sh15 million today not tomorrow. I wish you agreed to my motion, which was proposing at least two years,” Kang’ata said.

Give directions 

Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang’ protested that the House was not likely to make progress in the matter and urged Speaker Ken Lusaka to give directions that will help end the stalemate.

 “Mr Speaker this being the 10th formula I want to assure you that if you continue this way I will also come up with a formula; they have said one man one shilling, I’m going to say one fish one shilling,” said Kajwang’

 “We cannot engage in some form of tortuous, convoluted, retributive justice where you want to cure one form of marginalisation by creating another I don’t believe in that Kenya,”said Senator Isaac Mwaura

Nominated Senator, Petronilla Were amendment was proposing that the status quo remain and the Commission for Revenue Allocation (CRA) formula kick in when the equitable shareable revenue is raised to Sh348 billion.

Senator Were wanted the current second basis formula retained in sharing the Sh316.5 billion allocated to counties this financial year.

Original formula

She also desired to have the original formula developed by the CRA adopted as the third basis for sharing revenue among counties.

The senator had further proposed that the status quo remain and the CRA formula kick in when the equitable shareable revenue is raised to Sh348 billion.

“The simulations behind this principle ensure no one is losing. We all gain, some more than others (as expected) but no county suffers,” Were said when moving her amendment.

There was heated debate after the minority leader James Orengo protested an attempt to have amendments by senators Kimani Wamatangi and Mwangi Githiomi be dropped on the basis that they were overtaken by events after the passage.

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