DP Rigathi Gachagua revenue push sparks outrage

 Alois Lentoimaga

Former Samburu North MP Alois Lentoimaga addresses journalists on the one-man-one-vote-one-shilling revenue-sharing proposal at the Serena Hotel in Nairobi on May 21, 2024.

Photo credit: Lucy Wanjiru | Nation Media Group

A push by Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua for the allocation of funds to counties to be based on population rather than geography has sparked outrage from leaders in marginalised regions.

On Tuesday, leaders drawn from the arid and semi-arid lands (Asal) counties of Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, Marsabit, Isiolo, Turkana, Samburu, Baringo, West Pokot, Tana River, Kajiado, Narok, and Lamu criticised the so-called one-man-one-vote-one-shilling formula of sharing revenue.

Among them were former Garissa governor Ali Korane and former Senate Speaker Ekwee Ethuro. In a joint statement read by Mr Ethuro, they said the pastoralist region contributes significantly to the country’s politics and economy.

“We are also going to advocate for the one-man-one-vote-one-kilometre revenue sharing formula. We are deeply dismayed by the resurgence of these retrogressive political ideologies,” Mr Ethuro said. The leaders said the one-man-one-vote-one-shilling mantra is a weak formula for resource allocation that neither supports the existing institutional framework for equitable resource sharing nor addresses the current economic challenges.

Regional advocacy

“Our message to the Deputy President is clear, he must transcend regional advocacy and embody the role of a national leader,” the leaders said.

They added that the narrative being pushed by a section of leaders from Central region perpetuates ethnic jingoism, fosters self-entitlement and promotes unwarranted denigration of certain communities.

They said the former Northern Frontier District (NFD) contributes significantly to the national economy through the livestock sector, which generates about 12 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) and 40 per cent of agricultural earnings nationally. It also employs about half of the agricultural labour force.

“Central Kenya is a very small portion of this country; to put it in context, Central region is 13,121 square kilometres. It is privileged to have 7,000 kilometres of the 18,000 kilometres of tarmacked roads nationally, compared to North Horr Constituency, which is 38,954 square kilometres with no single inch of tarmac,” Mr Korane said.

They said Asal areas are still lagging behind in development.

The leaders added that the NFD has a higher population, which is not reflected during elections since majority of residents do not have identity cards. Former Tiaty MP Asman Kamama claimed the one-man-one-vote-one-shilling push will be used to steal money from Kenyans.

“This is corruption. You want to steal resources through a policy,” Mr Kamama said.

Former nominated senator Farhiya Haji said a huge chunk of national resources are being directed to well-off counties, worsening the state in the Asal region.

“We are tired of this issue. We want resources to go [to Asal counties] because we are part and parcel of this country. The olden days of when we were thought of as illiterate camel herders are gone. We are here and we are awake,” she said.