DEVOLUTION

When senators fight over revenue formula, poor Kenyans will suffer

In Summary

• The stalemate amongst egocentric, supremacist and richer-than-though regions' senators revolve around the third basis of sharing Sh316.5 billion allocated to the 47 counties and Sh26 billion Equalisation Fund. 

• The genesis of the current stalemate are new Equalization Bill and Revenue Sharing-Formula proposed by the Senate Finance and Budget Committee.

Senators led by Kilifi's Stewart Madzayo, at Parliament Buildings on July 7. They said they will oppose the revenue sharing formula.
REVENUE STANDOFF:: Senators led by Kilifi's Stewart Madzayo, at Parliament Buildings on July 7. They said they will oppose the revenue sharing formula.
Image: EZEKIEL AMING'A

In an unprecedented sixth attempt since the advent of devolution to adopt a new formula for sharing revenue, the Senate failed to reach a deal even after extending its sittings into the night.

The stalemate amongst egocentric, supremacist and richer-than-though regions' senators revolve around the third basis of sharing Sh316.5 billion allocated to the 47 counties and Sh26 billion Equalisation Fund. 

The genesis of the current stalemate are new Equalization Bill and Revenue Sharing-Formula proposed by the Senate Finance and Budget Committee.

The two are meant to give more resources to the already semi-developed counties at the expense of the so-called vast, poor, primitive and forgotten counties. Those counties have taken oath that the bill and the formula will only be passed over their dead bodies. I am with them 120 per cent on that.

In 1948, after the end of the Second World War, the 80th US Congers adopted what was called the Marshall Plan, named after Secretary of State George Marshal who proposed it.

The plan provided massive aid to Western Europe following the devastation of the Second World War with more than $15 billion by then. The plan was successful raising the GDP of Western Europe from 15-20 per cent within three years through rapid renewed of the countries chemical, engineering and steel industries.

Instead of introducing Kenya’s version of the Marshal plan to quickly developed historically neglected counties, some rabid tribalists and jingoists are doing the opposite by denying them funds. The least developed counties are being denied resources to catch up with other parts of the country right in the Senate, which should protect devolution. 

All in all, and as the stalemate drags on, it is the poor and innocent Kenyans of both sides of the divide that continue to suffer. When elephants (Senators) fight, it is the grass that suffers is an African proverb that summarises the current stalemate in the Senate. National revenue allocation from the Treasury of whatever nature is for the 42+ million Kenyans and not governors per-se.

S.R ATHEMBO ONYURO, KISUMU