On revenue allocation, equity is cardinal

Some of the senators opposed to the third generation basis for revenue sharing formula outside Parliament Buildings in Nairobi on August 4, 2020. File | Nation Media Group


What you need to know:

  • The current row on revenue sharing is along the lines of one-man, one-shilling versus equitable distribution.

The politics of development has dogged Kenya since independence, with equity, ethnic inequalities, inclusion and service delivery being the major challenges.

 However, the 2010 Constitution mandates the Senate to champion devolution via allocation of revenue and its oversight role. The current row on revenue sharing is along the lines of one-man, one-shilling versus equitable distribution.

My view is that the most and least developed regions require attention in equal measure; the developed areas are densely populated and also provide the nation with basic necessities such as food – central and North Rift  – while the least developed regions  have the potential to give this country an economic turnaround – from the oil wells of Turkana to the wildlife of Taita-Taveta and Kajiado.

These considerations require sober minds to deliberate on resource allocation. The Senate is considered the ‘House of wisdom’ and the nation hopes it will live up to those expectations. Senators, though political, should rise above party and regional politics and urgently come to a consensus through reconciliation for the sake of national cohesion and development.

Jackson Gichuru Waruhiu, Kenya School of Government, Embu.


We always give examples like “Israel transformed its desert into irrigation land and made it a bread basket”, yet we are now arguing about why we should assign money to empty lands. The greatness of a nation is evidenced by how it treats the weakest in the society. The marginalised areas have undiscovered potential; and so the blind one-man, one-shilling formula can’t help us grow Kenya equitably.  A Kenyan in Bungoma or Nyeri may walk 200 or 500 metres to look for water, but during my time at Kolokol in Turkana in 1998, I used to walk 12 kilometres in search of the commodity. 

I spent time in Ntulelei, Narok in 2005, and at the time the highest percentage of our budget went to water. We spent Sh28, 000 every week to maintain just 60 students. Church service at Ntulelei begins at noon because people walk long distances to worship, just as they do to get to class.

 In 2007, I spent some time in Lodwar and I noticed people limited baths to once a week to conserve water.  The current MP John Lodepe worked with Share International at the time. He used his own vehicle to fetch water for us.

When we talk of assigning resources to marginalised areas, we know what we are talking about. We have lived there. We have experienced life there.  Those who argue that we can’t assign resources to empty lands are very ignorant. If the next service you get is 25km away, then land becomes a factor in service delivery because it is an impediment.

Wekesa Erick, via email.