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Senate reaches out to Raila to end revenue sharing standoff

By Hillary Mageka
Wednesday, July 22nd, 2020
Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga during a past interview at Milele FM studio in Nairobi. Photo/PD/FILE
In summary

The disputed revenue allocation formula among the 47 counties will finally come up for debate tomorrow (Thursday). 

After intense lobbying at the weekend, it was widely expected that the matter will be discussed yesterday but debate on it was postponed to allow room for consensus to be reached on unsolved areas.

This even as the People Daily learnt that Minority Leader James Orengo had been tasked to reach out to Opposition chief Raila Odinga whose senators are opposed to the formula that could see their counties lose cash with the aim of securing their support.

Impeccable sources have told People Daily that Orengo was asked to seek Raila’s intervention in order to convince his troops to support formula but push for gradual implementation.

Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka yesterday said there were “areas that need to be tightened up” in the proposed formula that had seen the House divided right in the middle. 

“I am aware that this is a matter the entire country is waiting for our direction.

It was discussed in the House Business Committee on Monday, however, there was a small committee which was consulting so that a lot consensus is built as much as possible,” Lusaka said in his communication to members. 

“We had given them up to today 1:30 pm to finalise, unfortunately, there are areas that need to be tightened up and therefore the direction. 

I know the Leader of Majority will be seeking to move a motion to ensure the matter is concluded on Thursday 2:30pm,” he told senators. 

 Lusaka, was responding to Vihiga Senator George Khaniri, who raised on a point of information after realising that the matter was not listed for debate.

Important business

“As I came from my house, I was very sure that this is the business we were coming to discuss.

That is not to insinuate  that the other business is not important, but this what Kenyans are waiting for at the moment,” Khaniri said. 

He added: “However, I have looked at the Order Paper, I don’t see that item, I thought this was an important business waiting this House to discuss.”

Raila’s support base is likely to lose close to close to Sh11 billion out of 18 counties whose annual allocation will cumulatively drop by Sh17 billion. 

 Previous attempts to strike a balance among the lawmakers have failed to yield any fruits, not even the intervention of President Uhuru Kenyatta. 

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. 

On the other hand, his Handshake partner Raila is said to be having reservations on the formula that could see counties considered his political bedrock lose significantly in revenue allocation.

This has complicated matters for the President’s allies in pushing through the formula that has been rejected by senators mainly from Raila’s Nyanza backyard and parts of Deputy President William Ruto’s Rift Valley and Northern Kenya support bases.

They include Nyamira, Narok, Vihiga, Mombasa, Taita-Taveta, Turkana, Kilifi and Kwale.

Others are Wajir, Mandera, Garissa, Isiolo, Tana River, Samburu and Tharaka Nithi.

In the proposed formula that gives more emphasis on the population as opposed to the current method that prioritizes land mass, President Uhuru’s Mt Kenya backyard comprising 10 counties will gain at least Sh300 million, save for Tharaka Nithi, which would lose Sh367 million.