‘Team Kenya’ rejects Senate resolution on county revenue formula

Senators have failed to pass formula in a record nine sittings

In Summary

•Team Kenya has rejected the house leadership decision to support controversial formula that cuts allocations to 18 counties by Sh17 billion.

•The proposal has been at the centre of a protracted dispute among the lawmakers.

Senate of the Republic of Kenya.
Senate of the Republic of Kenya.
Image: FILE

A heated debate is expected in the Senate chamber on Tuesday after some senators rejected a decision by the House leadership to a support a disputed proposal as third basis for sharing revenue among counties.

Dubbed 'Team Kenya', the lawmakers have vowed to reject any attempts to box them into supporting the controversial formula proposed by the House Finance and Budget Committee.

“As the committee that was formed to try and reach a deal, we submitted two reports to the leadership. They are yet to get back to us. We cannot support a formula that will take away billions from some counties,” Mandera Senator Mohamud Mohamed said.

In a policy brief seen by the Star last Thursday, the House leadership comprising Majority leader Samuel Poghisio and his minority counterpart James Orengo recommended the adoption of the committee proposal.

The proposal has been at the centre of a protracted dispute among the lawmakers.

“The formula proposed by the senate finance committee be adopted as the new basis for allocating revenue to counties,” the brief reads.

It recommends that the formula be implemented in a phased manner to avoid disrupting county plans and budgets and recommends a two-year moratorium.

The Finance committee formula has been at the core of a standoff as it cuts allocations to 18 less counties by Sh17 billion.

Senators from the ‘losing’ counties have roped in at least five other lawmakers under ‘Team Umbrella’ in opposing the proposal which they have termed as discriminatory.

“We are ready to vote. Let them bring the two proposals as we suggested if we cannot agree on a formula that will ensure equity,” Mohamed, whose county loses Sh1.2 billion in the proposal, said.

Minority Chief and Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jr, a member of Team Kenya said they would not accept any divisive formula.

“There is no committee formula on the table. It was amended. We will not accept a divisive formula, its consequences notwithstanding,” Mutula said.

Nairobi senator Johnson Sakaja, who co-chaired the 12-member informal committee that was formed to strike a deal on the formula, said the leadership is yet to inform the panel of its decision on the two reports that the committee submitted.

“There are concessions we agree they should bring. If they bring those concessions, we can agree on one of the two options, based on the principles of equity that we agreed on. But either way, a decision must be made on Tuesday,” said Sakaja, a member of Team Kenya.

The lawmakers have failed in nine previous meetings to debate and vote on the formula that will determine how counties share Sh316.5 billion allocated to them in the budget.

Last Tuesday, speaker Kenneth Lusaka pushed the debate on the formula to next week to allow for consensus-building.