Uhuru, Raila lobby to end revenue sharing stalemate

Senate Majority Chief Whip Irungu Kang’ata

Senate Majority Chief Whip Irungu Kang’ata at a past event.   PHOTO | FILE

Photo credit: NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • Mr Kang’ata reiterated that Jubilee has made it clear to Mr Odinga that the sustainability of the ‘handshake’ and BBI course into the future is dependent on the outcome of Tuesday vote on the formula.
  • Mr Odinga met with Jubilee Vice-Chairman David Murathe, with sources in the meeting telling the Nation that the impasse over the formula formed part of their agenda.

As the National Treasury convenes a meeting this morning in a bid to resolve the impasse over county revenue sharing formula, intense lobbying is underway to break the stalemate.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga are pulling all stops to push through a new formula amid opposition from senators, who are against the proposal by the Commission on Revenue Allocation.

Senate Majority Whip Irungu Kang’ata on Sunday told the Nation that the ‘handshake’ partners had taken over the task of winning over more lawmakers to pass the government-backed formula to fund counties for the 2020/21 fiscal year.

The two, he said, "are on a mission to win two missing sheep from the ‘handshake’-cooperation politics” ahead of tomorrow’s Senate vote on the formula that was shot down last Tuesday after lacking the support of two more senators.

Rare solidarity

And on a show of rare solidarity and perhaps a thin veiled threat to the BB) and handshake politics, Mr Kang’ata said Jubilee’s Tangatanga and Kieleweke had resolved to unite behind President Kenyatta-backed one man, one shilling, one vote formulae.

Last Thursday, Mr Kang’ata lobbied and won over Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika and her Nandi counterpart Samson Cherargei—both seen to be leaning towards Deputy President William Ruto —in what was seen by others as a major statement of closing of the ranks between allies of President Kenyatta and his deputy.

Mr Kang’ata reiterated that Jubilee has made it clear to Mr Odinga that the sustainability of the ‘handshake’ and BBI course into the future is dependent on the outcome of Tuesday vote on the formula.

“We want to make it very clear that it is all about Mr Odinga to demonstrate to the President that he is sincere in the handshake and the BBI for the national good, but not for selfish gain…,” he said.  “We are watching as the Jubilee family and no one should think we are divided as the ruling party. We will need no prompting to unite against him and BBI should need be.”

His comments came hours before it emerged that President Kenyatta had banned the whip from making public comments against Mr Odinga, the handshake and BBI in relation to the formula. “The President has personally called Kang’ata and disapproved of his strategy of resorting to public threats instead of employing diplomacy founded on inclusivity…,” a source privy to the matter told the Nation.

“The President was alarmed that Mr Kang’ata was not reading the mood right and instead of employing the art of whipping to get the numbers, he was inflicting damage to the cause.”

Reached for a comment, Mr Kang’ata said: “Yes, we consult from time to time and as a result I have taken a holiday from publicly commenting on all matters pertaining this issue until a further date.”

The ban came as ODM said it should not be blamed for the stalemate. “Blaming ODM for the revenue impasse is being politically mischievous. Senators voted based on individual interests and interests of their respective counties, which has nothing to do with the party,” chairman John Mbadi said.

The National Assembly minority leader asked whether DP Ruto is becoming politically irrelevant in national matters as the blame is heaped on Mr Odinga.

“When some people want money and other goodies, they run to the deputy president, but when it comes to serious national issues, they now want Mr Odinga to help them,” Mr Mbadi said.

Losing money

Mr Odinga met with Jubilee Vice-Chairman David Murathe, with sources in the meeting telling the Nation that the impasse over the formula formed part of their agenda.

Others who attended the meeting were Senate Minority Leader James Orengo, former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth and Cotu secretary-general Francis Atwoli.

Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers led by Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja and his Makueni counterpart Mutula Kilonzo Jr have intensified lobbying in the Senate over the formula, saying their amendment that will see no county losing money is the best bet.

Reported by Mwangi Muiruri, Samuel Owino, Patrick Lang’at and Onyango K’onyango