Showdown looms as senators vote on cash sharing formula

Tuesday, September 15th, 2020 00:00 |
Senate in session. Photo/PD/File

Hillary Mageka @hillarymageka

A showdown looms as senators reconvene this afternoon to take a vote on the contentious county revenue-sharing formula.

For a record ninth time, the Senate has failed to make a decision on the protracted third basis of sharing revenue among counties.

Senators’ indecisiveness has adversely affected service delivery in the 47 devolved units, plunging counties in a near financial crisis.

The stalemate over the formula has stalled the passage of the County Allocation of Revenue Bill , 2020, legislation that outlines how the Sh316.5 billion allocated to the counties in the 2020-21 budget should be shared.

As the House reconvenes for the high stakes meeting, the lawmakers seem to have run into headwinds, as they failed to hold a kamukunji as earlier ordered by Speaker Kenneth Lusaka.

Aggressively fight

Senators whose counties will gain have vowed to aggressively fight for the adoption of the new method, while those from marginalised areas insist on the status quo.

The meeting, according to Lusaka, was to strike a balance ahead of this afternoon’s sitting after a 12-member committee, formed to develop consensus on the issue failed to strike a compromise.

With no agreeable position, senators from opposing sides will go head on, in a bid to salvage counties from sliding further into the financial crunch.

“There was no Kamukunji from the word go because we have no communication from the Speaker, it is his meeting,” Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei told People Daily at Parliament Buildings.

Migori Senator Ochillo Ayacko, another key supporter of the committee formula said it is all system go this afternoon as the House will have to make a decision.

On his part, Taita Taveta Senator Johnes Mwaruma, whose county is among the 19 losing in the committee formula, has dared his counterparts whose units are gaining, for a political duel, saying that the numbers are with Team Kenya.

Team Kenya which is part of at least 21 senators drawn from the arid and semi-arid counties, have protested the proposed new formula for revenue allocation saying the mechanism will disenfranchise and further marginalise their areas.

In the disputed formula proposed by the Finance and Budget Committee, 18 less populous counties of North Eastern, lower Eastern, Coast and parts of Rift Valley regions are losing Sh17 billion. It has been rejected by senators from those regions.

Conflicting reports

On Monday, the two Senate camps stuck with their guns, showing no indication of compromise. 

Last evening, Senate Majority Leader Samuel Poghisio, his minority counterpart James Orengo and their respective teams were holed up in a series of meeting,  re-working to build consensus on two conflicting reports presented to them by the team co-chaired by Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula and Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja.

The panel had also recommended to the House leadership to consult President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga for further consensus-building.

The two proposals, whose simulations the People Daily has seen, are set to form the basis of the discussion ahead of tomorrow’s sitting.

The first proposal fronted by ‘Team Kenya’, a faction that opposed reduction of cash to any county, provides for a eight-parameter formula, with the biggest weight placed on basis share (20 per cent),  health (18 per cent),  population (18 per cent) and agriculture (10 per cent).

  It recommends that Sh273 billion of the Sh316.5 billion allocated to the counties in the budget be shared out equally among all the 47 counties.

It states that the remaining Sh53.5 billion be subjected to the parameters. 

The second proposal, on the other hand, which has received the backing of senators supporting the ‘One Man, One Vote, One Shilling’ provides for 10 parameters.

It places the biggest weight on health (20 per cent) and basic share (20 per cent), population (16 per cent) and agriculture (12 per cent). 

Some 16 counties are losing more than Sh15 billion in this proposal.

More on News