What you need to know:
- Mr Odinga said negotiations were ongoing and that the bottomline was for all counties to be treated equally and for none to come out as the loser.
- He called for sobriety among senators who have taken hardline positions on the matter, noting that the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) was ready to review contentious issues.
- On the referendum, Mr Odinga reiterated that it would be impossible to hold one alongside the 2022 General Election, insisting that the former will come earlier.
ODM leader Raila Odinga has once again weighed in on the revenue sharing stalemate at the Senate, expressing hope that senators will Monday reach a consensus to put the matter to rest.
Speaking in Kisumu County on Friday, Mr Odinga said negotiations were ongoing and that the bottomline is for all counties to be treated equally and for none to come out as the loser.
He called for sobriety among senators who have taken hardline positions on the matter, noting that the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) is ready to review contentious issues.
“I am hoping that when the Senate meets next Monday, it will come up with a compromised position in a win-win situation,” he told a press conference at the county headquarters.
The ODM leader earlier suggested that implementation of the new revenue sharing plan should be delayed until more resources are allocated to counties and a win-win deal is reached.
He has recently come under pressure from his allies, especially in the Coast and Northeastern, who felt he betrayed them when he earlier said he supported the CRA’s proposed formula, which would see 19 counties lose billions of shillings.
On Friday, Mr Odinga said county governments were suffering because of lack of funds following the stalemate as the Senate had taken too long to resolve issues.
“It is the responsibility of the Senate to come up with an acceptable revenue-sharing formula. The key thing is equity for each and every county. Let us be sober up on this issue. What we agreed on is that no county should be a loser,” said the former Prime Minister.
“Whatever the formula, no county should get less than what it got last year.”
On the referendum, Mr Odinga reiterated that it will be impossible to hold one alongside the 2022 General Election, insisting that the referendum will come first.
“Many people are critical of the referendum plan and say it should be done alongside elections but this cannot work,” he said.
He dismissed critics of the referendum, terming the cost argument an excuse “because the referendum and elections do not have to cost a lot of money”. The politician further said Kenyans should not shy away a referendum on issues they are divided on.
“It is because of corruption in procurement processes that our elections are the most expensive in the world,” he stated, giving a comparison with the US elections which he said cost 40 cents per ballot against Kenya’s $7.
“Most countries in Europe go into a referendum almost every year and it doesn’t cost much,” he said.
However, the ODM leader was careful not to talk about his 2022 plans, insisting that he and President Uhuru Kenyatta’s focus is righting past wrongs by creating an enabling environment for cohesion and peaceful elections.
“Our agreement is to put in place structures that will ensure a friendly exercise so that no Kenyan life is lost because of elections. We want to ensure structures are in place to support free and fair elections,” he said, adding the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report will be highly beneficial.
“Issues that will require administrative action will be given to both the national and county governments to implement. Other issues will require legislative action. There are also bills to be prepared; they will be taken to Parliament for enactment within specific timelines. Issues that will require a referendum will be done in line with the Constitution,” he said.
On reorganisation in his party, Mr Odinga said it was targeted at gaining strength ahead of the elections and to ensure internal democracy.
“We want party elections to be fair. Winners and losers should accommodate each other and not create animosity,” he said, alluding to past incidences where party primaries were vicious and even violent.
“We don't want any form of violence in our party elections. We want genuine people to participate, not those who jump in when elections are approaching and hire youths to cause violence and mayhem. This will not be tolerated in ODM,” he said.
Kisumu Governor Nyong'o praised Mr Odinga for recent changes in the party, saying they set the pace for the next General Election.
“Thank you for reorganising the party. We appreciate the people who have been appointed. This presents a strong footing for the next elections,” he said.
The ODM leader, who is also the African Union (AU) High Representative for Infrastructure Development in Africa, also highlighted the Kisumu port revival plan, saying the government’s plan remains, although Uganda and Tanzania have delayed completing their parts in the regional blue economy plan for proper integration.
“The port is going to function properly and will create many employment opportunities for the people in this region,” he noted.
Mr Odinga, who was last in Kisumu in February, said some more facilities needed to be built as part of the project, alongside the railway and some roads for efficient cargo transportation.
He said plans to revamp the old railway line from Nakuru to Kisumu and then Malaba were still on.