ODM leader Raila Odinga has backed the one man-one-shilling formula of revenue sharing amongst counties stating that funds allocated to the devolved units were intended to enhance service delivery based on the people-factor.
Speaking in Mwatate on Thursday during a meeting with political and religious leaders from the region, the former Prime Minister said the raging debate on the best formula to adopt for revenue sharing across the 47 counties should be premised on individual county’s needs.
To back his arguments, Raila cited an example of a county with a hundred patients while another one had a thousand sick people.
“All these people are sick and need treatment but it follows that a thousand patients will need more resources to meet the demands for drugs for their treatment,” he explained.
Leaders in the meeting included Taita-Taveta Governor Granton Samboja, Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho, MPs Danson Mwashako, (Wundanyi), Johnes Mlolwa of Voi and Senator Johnes Mwaluma. ODM Secretary General Edwin Sifuna was also present.
Raila said that the divisive nature of the allocation debate coupled with the stalemate that threatens to paralyze county operations had compelled him to personally reach out to experts in Commission for Revenue Allocation (CRA) to push for a middle ground as a way of ensuring counties were not affected.
At the heart of deadlock at the senate is the riddle on how to share Sh 316.5 billion amongst the 47 counties. The third CRA revenue sharing basis adopted ten parameters as the basis for sharing allocation among the counties. The parameters include health, agriculture and population.
However, this formula has been opposed by some senators on the grounds that it will disadvantage marginalized areas. This opposition has thrown the Senate into a spin and created a deadlock that threatens to shut down county operations. Formation of a 12-member committee to resolve the impasse by the speaker has not borne fruits.
Raila disclosed that CRA had agreed to modify the revenue-sharing formulae to incorporate other parameters including livestock keeping to accommodate pastoralists community; mining sector to take care of the needs of mining communities and blue economy factor for communities and regions with marine resources. He said that capturing such economic activities would eliminate such impasses in future.
“CRA will adopt additional parameters to increase the percentage share to the counties,” he explained.
To resolve the current stalemate, CRA will adopt last year’s formulae to allocate funds to the counties as they enhance the new formulae.
“The CRA will adopt last year’s formulae to alleviate the looming crisis as they entrench more parameters to the formula that will be adopted for future revenue sharing,” said the ODM leader.
In the disputed formulae, 18 counties would have received a reduced share while 29 counties were set to get additional allocation.
In a memorable moment of political candidness, Raila lashed out at unnamed senators whom he said had boycotted the debate on revenue allocation by stage-managing their arrests.
He said that the senators whose counties were gaining yet voted against the formula were not driven by a sense of patriotism but by greed and self-interests.
“It was nothing to do with their love for people but parochial selfish interest,” he said.
He alleged that a section of the legislators was bribed to wreck senate proceedings and paralyze the revenue debate.
“The missing of the Senate debate was deliberate. They stage-managed their arrest by the police so they blame the government and justify their absence. This was their excuse should they be questioned on why they didn’t turn up for the debate,” he said.
Raila condemned such behavior and stated legislators must always have dignity in their engagement because they were serving a noble cause.
By Wagema Mwangi