Senate Majority Whip Irungu Kangata has sensationally claimed that the former senate leadership shied away from debating the issue of revenue allocation to counties. Speaking to Anne Kiguta on k24 TV’s Punchline show, the Murang’a Senator admitted that very few leaders of the Senate had been willing to initiate debate because it is a highly contentious issue.
He however indicated that progress was being made, ”We started with only about 8 senators who were supporting this new formula. We have increased to about 16 senators and now we are almost reaching 24 senators. To me, that is progress and not regression”, said Kangata.
He explained that this was not the first time that the contentious formula had been introduced to the House, ”This formula is not being introduced now, there was an attempt at the last Parliament which refused at all to discuss this formula. It is only this current leadership that has decided to be a little bit more bold to discuss it so that we can bring justice to some counties that feel like they deserve more attention. The former leadership of the House refused to take responsibility and decided to conceal the injustices that were inherent in the second generation formula”.
He also said that his priority was to build consensus before the senators met again on Tuesday, ”By tomorrow (Monday), if all factors remain constant, we shall be holding a Kamukunji at about 2.30pm and then we make a final decision so that by the time we are going to the Senate on Tuesday, consensus shall have been built”.
The Majority Whip also admitted that there were challenges that had accrued over a period of time which resulted in a heated debate on the floor of the House, ”When CRA made the recommendation to come up with a new formula, they thought that we shall increase the amount of money that go to counties from 316 billion to 355 billion. If that would have happened, no single county would have lost money as a result of this new formula. But now, we have a situation where the Constitution requires that we enact a new formula but then again, the devolved money has remained constant”, he said.
Also appearing on the same show, Narok Senator Ledama Ole Kina accused the Finance Committee for shelving the proposal instead of bringing it to the floor of the House for debate, ”If this proposal had been brought to the floor of the House by the Finance Committee which has since changed leadership, the 68 senators would have made a decision. However, the Finance Committee kept it. The Commission on Revenue Allocation did a fantastic job. I may not agree with what they did but there is one thing that is constant – change. When you think about the formula as proposed by the Commission, it had a rider – that when you put in new data and you use these parameters which are 65% based on population, there are counties that are going to lose. That is why they said that the national government should set up an additional 15% to cushion the counties that are going to lose”.
The Narok Senator also explained that the formula was being enacted using the 2009 census data, resulting in loss of money by some counties, ”…the data that we are currently using, is not even 2019 census data, it is 2009 data. If we now input the 2019 data into the current parameters, you’ll see how counties will lose their money”.
He argued that he and other senators who have convened under a ‘One Kenya’ umbrella had come up with a suitable solution, ”Our argument from the onset has been, that since we are using data from 2009, let us have a basis, and let that basis be what counties got in the last financial year”.
Full interviews below: