OPPONENTS GAINING GROUND

Why revenue sharing formula is a headache for Uhuru in Senate

President has tasked his foot soldiers in the House to lobby for passage of controversial method.

In Summary

• The President is facing an uphill task in pushing through the formula that has been rejected by at least 25 lawmakers in the senate.

• The President is reportedly backing the contentious method proposed by the Senate Finance and Budget Committee. 

President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga.
BBI PALS: President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga.
Image: FILE

The disputed formula for sharing allocations to the 47 counties has become a headache for President Uhuru Kenyatta.   

However, his handshake partner and ODM boss Raila Odinga could hold the key to unlocking the stalemate.

The President is facing an uphill task in pushing through the formula that has been rejected by at least 25 lawmakers in the Senate.

They include 18 senators whose counties would lose up-to Sh17 billion if the formula is adopted.

The formula has also been rejected by senators mainly from Raila’s Nyanza backyard and parts of Deputy President William Ruto's Rift Valley turf.

Some regions that could gain from the formula have also opposed the formula in solidarity with the losers. 

The formula has left Uhuru exposed as Raila and Ruto allies have found themselves in the same bed, politically.

These strange bedfellows are Fred Outa (Kisumu), Ochillo Ayacko (Migori), Sam Ongeri (Kisii), James Orengo (Siaya), Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo Marakwet) and Johnson Sakaja (Nairobi).

At least 24 out of the 47 delegations (one vote per county) are needed to pass the formula.

“Yes, my county is gaining some millions but I will defend every county including Migori and others, because sharing is biblical and while today Migori is gaining, tomorrow I will need the support of my neighbour if I am losing,” Ayacko said.

Those opposed to the proposed method are from the marginalised and less populous regions of Northeastern, lower Eastern, Coast and parts of Nyanza and Rift Valley.

The President is reportedly backing the contentious method proposed by the Senate Finance and Budget Committee and has tasked his foot soldiers in the House to lobby for its passage.

However, the task has proved too heavy for his allies in the Senate with the list of opponents growing by the day.

All the 10 counties in President Kenyatta's Mt Kenya backyard gain Sh300 million and above, save for Tharaka Nithi which would lose Sh367 million in the proposed method.

This has been attributed to the latest housing population data that classified the region as the most populous. The proposed formula gives more weight on the population as opposed to the current formula method that prioritises land mass.

It has emerged that the Senate leadership has tasked Minority leader James Orengo to seek Raila’s intervention.  

“We are consulting His Excellency the former Prime Minister as well as other national leaders. The stalemate impacts all counties and everyone, hence our endeavour,” Majority Chief Whip Irungu Kang'ata said.

Yes, my county is gaining some millions but I will defend every county including Migori and others, because sharing is biblical and while today Migori is gaining, tomorrow I will need the support of my neighbour if I am losing
Ochillo Ayacko

Kanga’ta’s counterpart Mutula Kilonzo Jr said they opted to build consensus from ‘above’ before presenting a fair-for-all formula on the floor.

The Makueni senator said they have made progress in their negotiations and a compromised proposal that will ensure no one loses and everyone gains progressively is on the table.

“We are still caucusing to reach 100 per cent consensus. We cannot allow a divisive agenda. Kenya is our motherland. All are equal,” he said.

However, the two senators said it was not clear when a revised formula will be tabled on the floor, putting the counties at risk of plunging into a cash crisis.

“We shall schedule the business if, either we have consensus or we have decided senators should now make a decision. We are yet to make either of the decisions,” Kang'ata said.

In the proposal, the parameters of basic shareable revenue and population have been allocated 20 per cent and 18 per cent respectively, Health (17 per cent) and poverty (14 per cent).

Others are agriculture (10 per cent), access to roads (six per cent), land mass (eight per cent) and revenue effort (collections) and fiscal prudence one per cent.

Among the biggest losers are Wajir, Mandera and Marsabit counties whose allocation will be cut by Sh1.9 billion, Sh1.8 billion and Sh1.8 billion respectively if the formula is implemented.

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 see Kilifi losing 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.

The top gainers are Nandi (Sh1.4 billion), Uasin Gishu (Sh1.2 billion), Nakuru (Sh1.2 billion), Kakamega (Sh997 million), Kiambu (Sh986 million) and Bungoma (Sh837 million). 

Others are Kirinyaga (Sh779 million), West Pokot (Sh777 million), Baringo (Sh722 million), Bomet (Sh673 million) and Siaya (Sh642 million).