Why revenue impasse could finally unite Coast leadership
Realisation of a unified coastal political party could be the aftermath of the contentious revenue allocation formula.
The region that largely leans towards the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) is reading a different script and in one voice.
After a raucous debate and whose outcome will be known today, coastal leaders have come out to condemn party members who support the formula that will see the region lose billions in the new allocation.
Kinango MP Benjamin Tayari yesterday hinted that a number of Coast politicians, among them governors, have joined the ODM rebellion bandwagon, even as plans are separately mooted to form a formidable regional political block that can spearhead the region’s politics ahead of 2022.
According to the ODM lawmaker, the led party has demonstrated sheer betrayal by supporting the unfavourable revenue sharing formula during the Senate Special Sitting last week.
“Our people have given us a go ahead and we are in talks with some coastal governors who have shown interest in backing our exit from ODM in the next elections. We cannot disclose them for now,” said Tayari.
On Tuesday last week, senators from Raila’s Luo Nyanza backyard supported a disputed revenue sharing formula among the 47 counties albeit with amendments.
“We have tried to stay patient thinking that the ODM party has coastal people at heart but the recent vote in the Senate has sent indicators of betrayal.
We have, therefore, decided as coastal leaders that we need our own political vehicle,” Tayari said.
Amid revolt by President Uhuru Kenyatta’s and Raila Odinga’s confidants over the revenue sharing formula, the die is cast for the ODM party at the coast as a section of senators throw their weight behind a new coastal front ahead of 2022.
The senators have again affirmed their stand against the new Commission of Revenue Allocation CRA formula, saying they will not relent in their quest to agitate for an equal and fair revenue sharing formula.
Mombasa Senator Mohamed Faki, a close ally of Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho maintained that ODM legislators have a right to ship out of the political vehicle, saying his stand for equal revenue sharing is firm and he is ready to vote against the new formula because it would lead to Mombasa losing more than Sh1 billion.
“Coast ODM legislators have a right to raise their concerns of ditching ODM because it’s their right.
I oppose the new revenue sharing because our county will lose revenue. We cannot justify the loss of Sh1 billion while our local economy has deteriorated as a result of Covid-19,” Faki said.
He added that senators from the region are in unison in rejecting the plan to deny the marginalised region’s development.
Faki says the majority of ODM senators in are opposed to the new CRA formula just like their coastal counterparts.
“Tourism sector at the coast is largely affected by Covid-19, therefore revenue reduction means no development. As a region, we are tired of continued marginalisation,” Faki told People Daily on Monday.
His Lamu counterpart Anwar Oloitiptip, a Jubilee Party senator, backed the plan for coastal legislators to seek a unified front ahead of 2022 saying the region is mature enough politically to stand together. Lamu will gain Sh190 million if the new formula is adopted.
“We are not opposed to the government or the BBI or Raila Odinga but it is not fair to see coastal regions lose revenue through the new CRA formula.
We firmly stand with all other marginalised counties that are going to be affected,” Oloitiptip told People Daily during a phone interview.
Taita Taveta Senator Jones Mwaruma asked ODM party leadership to come out clear on their stand against Coastal region.
“If ODM fights for devolution, then they should stand with the Coastal region, we want to tell them to come out clear.
If you give counties less than what they used to get, then there is no development,” Mwaruwa said, who says the county will lose about Sh399 million if the new CRA goes through.
Mombasa businessman Suleiman Shahbal who has declared his intention to succeed Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho, says the region is ripe to have its own political vehicle to steer it in the oncoming political realignments.
However, a section of legislators from Mombasa, led by Likoni MP Mishi Mboko have maintained their stand with the ODM party is unshakable.
The Coast counties are among the 18 devolved units set to lose up to Sh17 billion if the controversial formula sails through in the Senate.