BATTLE FOR NUMBERS

Focus shifts to seven ‘gaining’ senators in revenue formula

They are under immense pressure to support the formula that disadvantages 18 vast counties.

In Summary

• Irungu Kang'ata says they will engage political leaders from the 'gaining' counties to convince the seven senators to support the formula.

• Debate and a vote on the contentious formula resumes Tuesday.

Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jr.
Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jr.
Image: FILE

Seven senators whose counties will gain from the disputed revenue-sharing formula have become the centre of the battle as Senate factions lobby for numbers.

Senators representing counties losing out under the formula are getting increasingly worried that should they lose the lawmakers then their goose could be cooked.

The Star has established that the two factions are fighting for the hearts and souls of the seven lawmakers ahead of next Tuesday’s vote.

 
 

The seven have opposed the contentious formula proposed by the Senate Finance and Budget committee despite their counties gaining.

 

“We are going on with the negations. We are going to ask the residents of these areas and the political leadership to help us,” Majority Chief Whip Irungu Kang'ata said.

During the stormy debate on Tuesday, the seven – from both Jubilee and Nasa – sided with their ‘losing’ colleagues in rejecting an amendment introduced by Kang'ata ostensibly to entice the opponents to approve the contentious formula.

Some 18 counties will lose Sh17 billion in the formula proposed by the Senate Finance and Budget Committee chaired by Kirinyaga Senator Charles Kibiru.

Their senators have vehemently opposed the formula, saying it will perpetuate marginalisation of their areas and managed to convince the seven senators to back them.

With their number standing at 25, the ‘losing’ senators surpassed the 24 vote threshold required to defeat the formula.

They are Johnson Sakaja (Nairobi) whose county is getting Sh1.2 billion more from last year’s allocation, Cleophas Malala whose Kakamega county is gaining Sh402 million and Sam Ongeri whose Kisii county is getting an extra Sh162 million.

 
 

Anuar Loitiptip (Lamu) opposed the formula as a show of solidarity with his Coast colleagues whose counties will lose, despite his county gaining Sh96 million.

 

Kajiado’s Philip Mpayeei opposed in solidarity with Narok, which will lose despite his county getting Sh765 million more.

Machakos Senator Boniface Kabaka stood with his Ukambani colleagues despite his county gaining Sh367 million more.

Elgeyo Marakwet Kipchumba Murkomen rejected the formula even though his county was to get an additional Sh398 million from last year’s allocation.

On Thursday, Malala said he and his six colleagues will stand with the losing counties to the end to ensure no county loses revenue.

“What we are saying is that the Sakaja formula which ensures no county loses is implemented immediately so that our people start accruing the benefits of the third generation formula,” Malala said.

Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jr, a fierce opponent of the committee’s formula, expressed concerns that they might lose more members to the opponents owing to the pressure from the other camp and state actors.

“Like last weekend, we received many calls and messages. Too many. These big people called us. By next week, they shall have piled pressure on us. So, one week is long and we may lose more members to them,” Mutula said.

On Wednesday, Kang'ata said they were planning to reach out the political leaders and residents of the counties represented by the seven senators.

“In Kakamega, the county government has built the best referral hospital in Western region. They need this project. In Nairobi, areas like Mathare, Githurai and other areas need clean water and other services,” Kang'ata said.

Edited by Henry Makori