Close

EXPERT COMMENT

End budget stalemate that endangers counties, devolution

If MPs, senators fail to agree on Division of Revenue Allocation Bill, courts could nullify the entire process.

In Summary

•This stalemate between the Senators and MPs speaks volumes about the vested interests in the two Houses

•This doesn’t augur well for devolution.

Parliament buildings.
Parliament buildings.
Image: FILE

This is a serious concern because it implies that the counties will not get their money for the next financial year. The counties can’t get the money until the legislators break the stalemate.

It means that they will not be able to pay their employees and carry out development projects that they have identified in their budgets. So, the counties will definitely suffer financially if the standoff persists.

This stalemate between the senators and MPs speaks volumes about the vested interests in the two Houses. I am saying this because if the real interest was the counties, or devolution for that matter, then they would have reached some level of accommodation or consensus. But it seems there are some vested external interests that either one or both houses are captive to.

This doesn’t augur well for devolution. It defeats the purpose of devolution that Kenyans overwhelmingly voted for in 2010. It will erode the central role devolution has played in the development and lives of the people.  

However, I hope that before the budget is read by the end of the week, the MPs and senators shall have found a middle ground to move ahead. I hope they will put their differences aside and strike a deal that will benefit the counties.

If they fail to reach an agreement, then the entire legislative process (budget making) might find itself under adjudication by the courts.  The courts can annul the entire process if it is not done properly and this will be detrimental to the counties that heavily rely on the National Treasury.

So, I advise the legislators to use the opportunity now to solve their differences to both save the counties and avoid the entire legislative process from being annulled by the courts.

Both Houses might have reasons to justify the allocations they propose, but as long as they fail to agree, the entire process will be a nullity. The biggest losers will be the counties and the people. Our legislators must avoid this scenario.

The human rights activist spoke to the Star