Senate revenue sharing debate a red herring

Some of the senators opposing the CRA formula.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Our politicians are wasting plenty of precious time fighting for recognition and coalitions instead of engaging in the life-and-death struggle that faces their followers every morning they wake up to tackle the demands of the day.
  • Across the country all the talk gravitates around the 2022 General Election.

We are in the midst of a health crisis. Unfortunately, if one were to listen to our political class, they would be forgiven to think the pandemic is but a distant memory.

Across the country all the talk gravitates around the 2022 General Election. In the meantime, county governments are uniformly having difficulties managing human resources for health, and we are returning to the era of industrial unrest in the sector.

For the past few weeks, the country has been gripped with theatrics around an otherwise routine parliamentary debate on division of a few billion shillings to the counties.

It has become a contest between existing and emerging camps in our political landscape, suitably exaggerated with an eye on pre-election alliances in what has become a national tradition since the onset of multi-party politics.

The posturing on the floor of Senate, the contrived encounters on the street, the run-ins with law enforcement, all these are carefully calculated to create clear demarcations between nascent camps that will slug it out at the next elections. But only if the coalitions manage to hold for the next couple of years, which is saying a lot in this country.

Senseless arguments

Our senators are making completely senseless arguments at times, including threatening to destroy the country unless their (mostly incoherent) version of the revenue division formula is passed and implemented.

Others are threatening their colleagues with dire consequences pursuant to party discipline. The average citizen is being made to feel as though the entire world will come to an end if the politicians fail to agree.

The truth is that they are arguing over a very tiny proportion of the total budget, and even then they are doing it wrong-headedly. The factors affecting the allocation as proposed by the Commission on Revenue Allocation go beyond the population factor, which has become the single organising principle among our senators. Indeed, at the end of the day, what matters is whether every citizen in need gets state support.

Challenge of governance

This is why I have promoted a metric of health service delivery that focuses on whether every pregnant woman is able to get access to a skilled attendant when she is ready to deliver.

Or whether a person with an acute infectious disease has access to a medical expert and the equipment and other resources necessary to get the ill person better and functional as quickly as possible. This is the challenge of governance. And this is the challenge our political leaders are failing on.

Our politicians are wasting plenty of precious time fighting for recognition and coalitions instead of engaging in the life-and-death struggle that faces their followers every morning they wake up to tackle the demands of the day.

As we have argued before, we would prefer that they argue for the provision of adequate education, security, health services, and infrastructure, and the rest of us will utilise the environment so created to build this into the leading economy in our league!

Welcome!

You're all set to enjoy unlimited Prime content.