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Kenya:Senate team divided on cash formula, seeks Uhuru intervention

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President Uhuru Kenyatta could be the key to unlocking the contentious revenue sharing formula among counties after a special Senate committee formed to hammer a deal failed to agree.

It has emerged that despite the 12-member team putting a brave face last week that it had struck a deal, the team failed to agree on the best formula to share the national cake among the 47 counties.

The disagreement now dims the hopes of unlocking the stalemate that has been deadlocked in the Senate for more than two months.

The Senate has failed in nine sittings to approve the formula to determine how counties share the Sh316.5 billion allocated to them in the 2020-21 financial year budget.

On Sunday, Speaker Kenneth Lusaka and Majority Chief Whip Irungu Kangata ruled out another special sitting, pointing to a standoff that is far from over.

“Since we are resuming on September 8, I don’t foresee a special sitting next week,” Lusaka told the Star.

Kangata said, “We shall meet during our normal calendar days.”  The senators are currently on a one month recess until September 8.

The Star has established that the committee co-chaired by senators Moses Wetang’ula (Bungoma) and Johnson Sakaja (Nairobi) produced two contradicting reports which it presented to the House leadership last Thursday.

The reports were presented to Majority Leader Samuel Poghisio (West Pokot) and Minority Leader James Orengo (Siaya).

“We did not agree. That is the truth. That is why we presented the two reports to the House leadership and asked it to engage the President to help us,” a senator who sat in the negotiation committee told the Star in confidence.

According to sources, the committee has asked the President to come in and help broker an agreement to unlock resources to the counties.

The recommendation came barely a week after the President threw his weight behind the formula fronted by the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA).

“This is not Uhuru’s money. This formula was crafted by the Commission on Revenue Allocation and went to the Senate, indicating that the revenue should be shared justifiably such that everyone gets their fair share,” he said.

The Star has reliably learnt that one of the reports produced by the committee resembles that of the House Finance and Budget committee that has been at the centre of a dispute for more than two months now.

The report takes the shape of the one-man-one-vote-one-shilling formula advocated by senators from populous counties.

The proposal cuts allocations by Sh17 billion allocations to 18 counties, especially those from less populous regions of Coast, Northeastern, lower Eastern and parts of Rift Valley and Nyanza.

The other formula echos the one proposed by Meru senator Mithika Linturi, under which Sh270 billion of the Sh316.5 billion will be shared equally and the remaining Sh46.5 billion shared based on theparameters such as landmass, population and health.

“We recommended that either of the formulas takes effect after two years. The reason behind this is that we hope that by then, the National Treasury shall have increased allocation to counties,” the source disclosed.

Last Wednesday, the special committee announced a breakthrough after a week of negotiations. However, the team declined to disclose the final formula.

“We will not and we are not allowed by the Standing Orders of the House to divulge the contents of the report until it is presented to the Speaker and finds its way to the House,” Wetang’ula said.

However, soon after the team announced a breakthrough, Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei, a member of the panel, dismissed the reports of a deal.

“No smoke. Not yet. Aluta continua,” Cherargei tweeted.

On Sunday, Cherargei said, “The report will soon be made public. We are looking forward to ensuring that every county is catered for.”

Edited by Magic Fingers