Raila and Nanok clash over BBI, devolved funds

Monday, February 8th, 2021 00:00 |
ODM leader Raila Odinga with Turkana Governor Josephat Nanok when they attended a church service at St Augustine’s Catholic Church in Lodwar, yesterday. Photo/COURTESY

Opposition chief Raila Odinga yesterday engaged Turkana Governor Josephat Nanok in a war of words as the former put a spirited fight calling for the need to review the proposed revenue sharing formula before endorsing the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) project.

Nanok, who joined Raila and other faithful at St Augustine’s cathedral in Lodwar town, put a strong case of the need to have the ongoing debate of amending the Constitution reviewed, saying once passed in its current form the people of Turkana will lose millions of shillings in county allocations.

The governor, who is a member of Raila’s party but has lately been gravitating towards Deputy President William Ruto’s political camp, said if BBI is passed in its current state, will suffocate the already marginalised counties as they risk he losing about Sh1 billion.

“When you propose a capping in the revenue sharing formula, what are you trying to tell us?

We have one of the biggest county, people here are extremely poor. The equalisation fund has never benefitted us until today,” he said.

Putting a brave face, Nanok promised Raila a bruising battle in the BBI campaigns.

“I wish you well in your endeavour but I can assure when it comes to campaigns, we will also do our very best in our camp.

We want to sit on that national table,” said Nanok amid cheers from the congregation.

But in response, Raila sought to assure Nanok that BBI would solve the problems of Turkana by strengthening devolution, adding that marginalised counties, such as Turkana, stand to benefit a lot through the proposed increment on shareable revenue from 15 to 35 per cent.

“Currently here in Turkana you receive Sh10 billion of the shareable revenue. If the BBI passes, you will receive Sh20 billion. Is that not a good thing?” he asked.

And to gain support from MCAs in the county, the former PM maintained the proposed introduction of a five per cent ward fund will be a game-changer.

Proponents of the formula have argued that money should be allocated based on population while those opposing it say landmass must also be taken into account since it takes a long distance to render services to people, especially in vast counties.

Raila, who further dismissed a call by Nanok to have multiple questions in the referendum, dared him to either support or denounce BBI publicly.

“Already our ballot paper is full with six posts starting from MCA to the President. Then you are telling us to have seven more posts that will also have multiple questions.

It’s already time-consuming. It is not possible to have multiple questions in a referendum,” he maintained.

But Nanok, who took time to stamp his authority as the Turkana community supremo, said: “ When I speak, I speak on behalf of the Turkana community and what I say comes from them.

It’s sad that we have some top government officials who instead of helping us, take time to attack me,” said Nanok in what appeared to be an indirect attack to Mining Cabinet Secretary John Munyes.

He avoided politics promising to ensure he improve the infrastructure of how the mined oil will be transported to various parts. The ODM leader wound his three-day charm offensive of Turkana county.

More on News