Last week Thursday, President Uhuru Kenyatta ‘stood down’ Mt Kenya MP’s in Nyeri when he officiated the opening of Kenya’s second largest market, Karatina. The president criticized these politicians for indulging in 2022 succession talk at the behest of development.
Mt Kenya parliamentary Chairperson Cecily Mbarire (center) and Secretary General Isaac Mwaura flanked by other leaders’ addressing the press after their Mt Kenya Leaders Parliamentary Caucus in Naivasha.
During a two days’ workshop in Naivasha, the over 70 legislators congregated under a ‘Mt Kenya MPs caucus’ to lament on under-development of the region, stating that Mt Kenya contributes to 60% of the GDP yet there are no significant projects going on in the area. These assertions though have been challenged by leaders from other regions.
Even though Kenyatta’s unexpected strong reaction to demands by Mt Kenya leaders could have adverse political implications on the Deputy President’s forays into the region, their demands presented an opportunity for the region to ask the hard questions on revenue allocation.
On Saturday, Jubilee vice-chairman and close confidante of President Uhuru David Murathe exuded that, “We are no longer in the Moi days where development was dished out from State House, it is planned in Parliament today.
The smaller tribes are forced by circumstances to lean on either side of the two big tribes. Going by what the GEMA MPs talked recently after Naivasha meeting, there is no hurry in ending tribalism.
— Bernard Koech (@KoechBernard) November 5, 2018
Let the MPs know that the President was not elected because of them but they were elected because of the President,” adding that the President’s unity agenda would not be distracted by “us versus them” politics.
Perhaps, this is the right time we had a debate on revenue allocation.
Every 5 years, the commission on revenue allocation should by law come up with a new formula for sharing revenue to counties. The current formula has 45% of the money to population, 26% shared equally on all counties, 18% on poverty index, 8% on land area, 2% on how well you collect own revenue.
Not long ago, Kiambu Senator proposed that we should only have one factor; one person, one shilling which everyone knows it cannot work as issues are more complex than just population.
“Rather than just SENSELESS BICKERING they (leaders) should come together and come up with a plan for what they can do about COFFEE,”- ANGRY UHURU said in apparent reference to the group of Mt Kenya MPs who met in Naivasha earlier in the week. pic.twitter.com/kCRnRH61OD
— Alibash Mohamed (@Alibash_Mohamed) November 2, 2018
Mt Kenya MPs say that the formula should have a factor of how much tax a county contributes nationally and a certain percentage taken into account.
Yet others say that the formula should be based only on the number of wards. The current formula has produced figures that can cause county mobilisation through populist speeches to show how the formula is skewed.
For example, a commissioner of Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) was recently quoted saying, “someone in Lamu receives an aggregate of Ksh 38000 while a person in Kiambu or Nairobi gets an average of Ksh 5000”.
However if one was to look at the aggregate totals, the formula provides a different picture.
Since CRA was formed, Nairobi has received the highest amount of 79.552 billion shillings, followed by Turkana at 59.83 billion shillings and Kakamega at 53.410 billion shillings. It is good to note that Nairobi has the highest population, followed by Kakamega while on land area Turkana is the 2nd highest.
The current formula has led to neighbouring counties getting very different amounts per person and yet they have similar characteristics. For example, when you compare Kirinyaga and Muranga allocation, which are neighbours, the allocation was Sh5,700 and Sh4,800 respectively per person.
Turkana got Sh10,000, Marsabit Sh 15000, Mandera Sh7,000 per person, yet the three are of nearly same characteristics. One can see from the above that the formula change can be supported across the county.
It is therefore necessary for our people in government, MPs and Senators to actively lobby for their proposals to be accepted instead of complaining later yet they are the ones in charge. My suggestion is that whichever formula is used, the difference per person allocation should never go beyond 200%.
In the meantime, Mt Kenya leaders should stop been crybabies, let them fight their battles on the floor of the house. Kenyans are used to these PR theatrics, it’s just a matter of time, four years to be precise, and Wanjiku shall overhaul them all in 2022.