Senate appoints team to unlock revenue impasse

Thursday, August 6th, 2020 00:00 | By
Senators Ledama ole Kina (Narok), Stewart Mwadzayo (Taita Taveta), Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo Marakwet), Johnson Sakaja (Nairobi), Kithure Kindiki (Tharaka Nithi) and Enoch Wambua (Kitui) outside the Senate buildings in the past. Photo/PD/SAMUEL KARIUKI

Hillary Mageka and George Kebaso

The Senate has appointed a nine-member team to strike a compromise on the row over the revenue sharing formula that was rejected for the seventh time on Tuesday.

The committee to be chaired by Deputy Speaker Margaret Kamar will review and consolidate various amendments to the House Committee on Finance and Budget report on the formula with the aim of brokering a consensus.

 “They will invite and listen to all senators with amendments to the report tabled by the committee,” Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka told People Daily in a phone interview yesterday.

Lusaka added: “The team will file their findings with the Senate leadership in a sitting to be held on Friday before presenting the same to an informal  members’ sitting better known as a Kamukunji either Monday or Tuesday next week.

Lusaka revealed that they had already advised that the team puts together a schedule on how we will be holding their meetings starting today morning.

“It’s inevitable, that they must organize for a retreat to deliberate and listen to everyone so that we are able to come up with a formula agreeable to all sides,” he said saying that the venue of the meeting will be communicated today after consultations.

Informed realisation

Lusaka said the decision was informed by the realisation among senators that their hardline positions would divide the country down the middle. .

The contentious formula has divided the Senate right in the middle with pitting politicians from marginalized counties on one side and those from the populous ones on the other.

On Tuesday, 35 senators mainly drawn from counties which were set to lose billions of shillings if the Third Basis Formula was passed voted in favour of the motion to adjourn brought by Elgeyo-Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen.

However, 26 senators, a majority of who support the proposed third basis formula, voted to reject the adjournment, arguing that it was equivalent to postponing a problem.

Majority Leader Samuel Poghisio (West Pokot) and his whip Murang’a’s Irungu Kang’ata, Minority Leader James Orengo (Siaya), his deputy Cleophas Malala (Kakamega) as well as Minority whip Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr (Makueni) have been tasked to lead the process that will enable senators strike a consensus deal on the matter.

Kirinyaga’s Charles Kibiru, who chairs Budget and Finance committee, his deputy Ochillo Ayacko (Migori)and Senate Clerk Jeremiah Nyegenye also attended a meeting by the House leadership on Tuesday during with the Poghisio-Orengo axis was given the task.

“There is a small technical committee, going through the proposed amendments to the report. They will fine tune the amendments so that we are able to bridge the gaps at various caucuses,” said Mutula, who is also the Makueni Senator.

Fair formula

During Tuesday’s adjournment debate, Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula had  called for a retreat with all the  Senators to discuss an appropriate and fair formula to ensure unanimous vote in the next debate.

 “In a majoritarian situation Mr. Speaker, the winner takes it all, but is it the way we want for this country?

We must understand that a pain to one Kenyan is a pain to all Kenyans.” Wetangula said.

On his part, Siaya Senator, James Orengo had pushed that the Senates meets in the course of the week for further consultations to resolve the revenue allocation quagmire as the Bill was time bound.

People Daily has learnt that other than Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA), they will consult interested personalities – including President Uhuru Kenyatta, his deputy William Ruto and Opposition chief Raila Odinga.

CRA boss

CRA boss Jane Kiringai has already indicated that members of her commission will be available to provide technical support if required.

On Tuesday afternoon a vote to adjourn debate on the contentious county revenue-sharing formula was achieved with 34 senators supporting, 26 against and one abstained.

The Senators had braced for another make-or-break session on the county funds allocation revenue-sharing formula, but it clearly appeared that a conclusion of the matter could have had a defining moment in Kenya’s history.

The House had adjourned on July 28 when the lawmakers voted and differed on the third basis revenue-sharing formula hitting a deadlock for the sixth time.

Senator Orengo, who is the Minority Leader, had tacitly blamed President Uhuru Kenyatta for being inaccessible, which possibly harmed lobbying.

On Tuesday morning, there were claims that some senators were accepting bribes to pass the controversial formula to the chagrin of their colleagues.

In the report prepared by the Finance and Budget Committee, the formula recommended by the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) will see 29 counties gain in financial allocation while 18 will lose.

The formula, based on population, stipulates that populous counties will have more funds allocated to them as opposed to the less populous ones.

On the other hand, Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja, Elgeyo Marakwek Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, Tharaka Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki and Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jr have opposed the third generation formula arguing that it sows the seeds of division among Kenyans.

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