CASH-SHARING FORMULA

External forces behind cash-sharing standoff - Sen Cherargei

Third-generation formula to determine how the counties share Sh316.5 billion in the 2020-21 budget.

In Summary

•The legislator on Wednesday said there are people  working from outside the Senate that will determine the outcome of the standoff.

• On Monday this week a stalemate that has stalled the passage of a new formula for funding the 47 counties persisted after senators failed to find common ground. 

Senate in session
Senate in session
Image: COURTESY

Nandi Senator now says the current cash-sharing standoff is the work of external forces.

The legislator on Wednesday said there are people working from outside the Senate that will determine the outcome of the standoff.

Cherargei who was recently dewhipped as the chair of Senate’s Committee on Justice and Legal affairs was speaking during a webinar on Kenya’s scorecard on electoral reforms.

 

He said what is being witnessed in the Senate is just but a sideshow to divert the attention from the real issues.

On Monday this week, a stalemate that has stalled the passage of a new formula for funding the 47 counties persisted after senators failed to find common ground. 

The senators were forced to defer, for the second time, debate and subsequent approval of the contentious formula that has divided the house down the middle.

The third-generation formula will determine how the counties share Sh316.5 billion allocated to them in the 2020-21 budget.

The lawmakers failed to strike a balance even after a day-long kamukunji convened by Speaker Kenneth Lusaka to build a consensus on a method proposed by House Finance and Budget Committee.

The meeting ended in disarray after the lawmakers whose counties were set to lose up to Sh17 billion stood their ground and promised to reject it.

Among the biggest losers is Wajir whose allocation will be cut by Sh1.9 billion if the formulae is implemented.

 

Mandera and Marsabit lose Sh1.8 billion, Garissa faces a reduction of Sh1.2 billion, Tana River Sh1.5 billion, Mombasa Sh1.6 billion, Kwale Sh995 million, Narok Sh887 million and  Isiolo Sh879 million.

The formula will also make Kilifi lose Sh878 million, Turkana Sh450 million, Kitui Sh219 million, Makueni Sh302 million, Samburu Sh294 million, Taita Taveta Sh388 million, Tharaka Nithi Sh367 million, and Vihiga Sh361 million.

They got the support of at least five other senators, mainly from ODM controlled areas, who argued that the formula was “about to split the country into two”.

“This formula was not going to pass and if it did, then this country was going to be divided into two and there would be no referendum,” Narok Senator Ledama Ole Kina said.

Senators; Enoch Wambua (Kitui), Fatuma Dullo (Isiolo), Mohamed Mahamud (Mandera), Mohamed Faki (Mombasa) and Steward Madzayo (Kilifi) said the proposed method was “divisive, unjust and unfair” to the already marginalised and less populous counties.

On the other hand, senators from areas which would benefit accused their counterparts of “punishing them for being populous”.

“We cannot be punished for having more people. Do they want us to remove wombs from our women so that they don’t give birth? We cannot allocate money to land and forests,” Nandi Senator Samson Cherarkey said.

With the toxic environment and signs of ugly exchanges between the two camps, Minority leader James Orengo (Siaya) invoked Standing Order 32 and invited the Deputy Speaker Margaret Kamar, who chaired the session, to adjourn debate on the motion.

Orengo said the senators needed time to understand an amendment proposed by three senators – Ole Kina, Mwangi Githiomi (Nyandarua) and Ali Abdullahi (Wajir) – and build consensus.

“If look at the order paper, there are various amendments to the motion that had already been given a notice of. We need to look at all these three simulations and also build consensus,” Orengo said.

But without mentioning names, Cherargei told the webinar that there are powerful individuals within the political circles that have to be consulted.

“Such matters should not be left as a reserve of Parliament alone, we need civil societies to raise their voice because the issue currently in the Senate will not be resolved unless ‘those’ people are consulted,” he said.

He added, “The standoff is all about what will benefit the other side and unless those on the said side have a say, we are likely going to see more of this”.

Cherargei said it is for the same reason that the BBI referendum has already been set even before the actual report is presented to the house.

“This is why we are saying reforms in our institutions have lost meaning with a lot of amendments. It should be known that with such sensitive matters, the house cannot act independently unless otherwise,” he said.