President Ruto now dodges Mt Kenya's 'one man, one vote, one shilling' debate

President Ruto

President William Ruto consoles Dagoretti South MP John Kiarie during the burial of his father, David Waweru Ng’ethe, in Kandara, Muranga County yesterday. 

Photo credit: Courtesy | PCS

President William Ruto was on Friday May 19 asked by his close allies to speak on the highly emotive Mt Kenya region’s ‘one man, one vote, one shilling’ debate.

But when he rose to speak, the President responded to all issues that had been brought to his attention save for that.

The debate is premised on the push by Mt Kenya region to have allocations of government resources be based on population rather than any other consideration, and that every shilling should be allocated per head.

Under the current revenue sharing formula, population covers 45 per cent, basic equal share (25 per cent), poverty (20 per cent), land area (eight per cent) and fiscal responsibility (two per cent).

This, Mt Kenya politicians insist, leaves the more populous counties with little cash for development.

The president was confronted with the debate while attending the send-off of three-time presidential aspirant and former Kandara MP Mr David Waweru Ng’ethe.

The debate is now shaping out to be the next campaign tool in the region. It has become a near song in the area, as most elected and aspiring leaders from the region hardly conclude their public speeches without making reference to the issue. They are demanding that public resources be allocated as per the population, and boundaries be drawn to achieve equitable representation.

The debate has now taken an interesting twist, as the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) politicians who dominate Mt Kenya have joined their Azimio affiliated counterparts to demand that the Kenya Kwanza Alliance government take the issue seriously.

In 2016, in court petition No. 163 filed before Justice Joseph Ongutu, Kiambu Governor Mr Kimani Wamatangi had asked the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) to adopt the formula in budget disbursements.

The debate was revisited in 2020 but was not passed into law. President Uhuru Kenyatta attempted to salvage the debate by packing it into the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) that sought constitutional amendments and anchor it into law, but this too flopped.

Murang’a governor Mr Irungu Kang’ata, Senator Joe Nyutu and acting Jubilee Party leader Sabina Chege beseeched the President to personally support the agenda.

The President however avoided responding to the debate, only saying, “I will take personal responsibility on accountability of resources of this country. No one will be allowed to steal the republic’s try and you will encounter me personally.

“I have told friends and foes alike, that corrupting public resources is a no go zone...I will not be speaking much on this, but my actions will be louder,” the President said.

Mr Nyutu ignited the one man one shilling one vote debate when he told the President that the issue is a source of strife among families in Mt Kenya region.

“We would love to have many children in our marriages but every time we men attempt to request our wives to add one more child, they protest that we are not conscious of the disparities in resource allocation,” he said.

Mr Nyutu said the debate is so critical to members of the region that it is shaping every other social and economic discussion.