Third Eye

Senate should rise to the occasion on revenue sharing formula

Friday, August 14th, 2020 00:00 |
Senate in session. Photo/PD/FILE

The Senate has another opportunity on Monday to settle the dispute on the revenue sharing formula that has been the subject of national discourse for months.

So emotive has been the matter that the Senate is split down the middle. 

Revenue sharing is central to devolution, which is touted as one of the hallmarks of the 2010 Constitution.

It would be noted that devolution was meant to cure a system of resources distribution that entrusted it to centralised political authority. 

It was meant to boost regions that had been marginalised to catch up with those that had made significant steps in development. 

Indeed, the devolution story has been largely transformative, though stained in some parts by corrupt officials.

But even with its challenges, it has been credited with improvement of health services and expansion of transport especially in rural counties. 

Indeed, devolved units have been entrusted to play a central role in the raging war against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Even more critical is the constitutional demand for public participation that has seen communities involved not only in the conceptualisation of their development programmes, but also implementation.

A recent survey by Infotrak Research firm listed residents of Makueni County as the happiest in the country,  attributing the  situation to a calm political environment and their involvement in development projects. Makueni is followed by West Pokot and Machakos. 

It is no surprise that Nairobi whose leadership has been caught up in perennial wrangles was among counties ranked bottom in the index.

The lesson here is that there is a nexus between development, sense of recognition and citizens’ welfare. 

It is because of the gains of devolution that various actors have been pushing for an increase in the equitable shareable revenue to the counties.

It is therefore understandable that any debate on sharing of revenue would be emotive.

But we are deeply disturbed by the highly divisive, parochial and tribal tone the Senate debate has taken. 

Equitable share of resources is meant to foster a sense of belonging and strengthen our nationhood.

That is the spirit of devolution for which the Senate is the guardian angel. We encourage Senators to exploit the Monday session to dispense of the matter in a manner that not only ensures fairness but secures national cohesion.

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