Governors march to top court over county funds

Council of Governors members L-R: Wycliffe Wangamati (Bungoma), Chairman Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega), Mwangi wa Iria (Muranga), Paul Chepkwony(Kericho) and Anyang Nyong'o (Kisumu) at past Senate committee meeting. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]
Governors will today march to the Supreme Court to present a petition that seeks to unlock the impasse on the Division of Revenue Bill 2019.

Senators and Members of the County Assemblies (MCAs) are also expected to join in the peaceful protest.

Governors will file the application seeking an advisory from the Supreme Court on failure by Parliament to pass the Bill which has starved counties of cash.

The bill collapsed following disagreements between the National Assembly and the Senate. The National Assembly wanted counties allocated Sh310 billion while the Senate insisted on Sh335 billion.

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Council of Governors (CoG) chairman Governor Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega), lawyers Issa Mansour and Peter Wanyama, will lead the march.

In a letter dated July 12, Oparanya wrote to all the governors urging them to participate in the petition filing.

“Further to our two letters on the above matter, dated July 10 and July 11," reads Mr Oparanya’s letter.

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"This is to notify that after filing the case at the Supreme Court on July 15, we will proceed to Kenyatta International Convention Centre, Aberdare and Lenana Rooms, at 11am for a stakeholders' public engagement forum."

Bill collapse

Mandera Governor Ali Roba is one of the leaders who have confirmed joining the protest.

Others who have publicly voiced support for the protests are Jackson Mandango (Uasin Gishu), Anyang Nyongo (Kisumu), Wycliffe Wangamati (Bungoma) and Mwangi Wa Iria (Murang'a)

Mr Roba said the collapse of the bill, and the Government’s proposal to cut allocation to counties will hamper devolution.

“The spirit of devolution must remain alive. Resources follow funds. Counties must be properly resourced to carry out their functions effectively,” Roba said.

Nandi Governor Stephen Sang said counties should at least get Sh327billion and not the proposed Sh310billion in the defeated bill.

“In the last budget, counties received Sh316 billion equitable share, why reduce the funds to Sh310billion. If we are to have any meaningful discussion on this matter, we should start at Sh327billion,” said Mr Sang.

The mediation committee, with representatives from the two Houses, failed to reach a deal, disagreeing at Sh11 billion.

Senators have been accusing National Assembly members of wrongly siding with Treasury that is insisting that there are no funds.

Meanwhile, Majority leader in the National Assembly Aden Duale has clashed with governors Sang, Mandogo and senator Samson Cherargei on the revenue bill.

Mr Duale told the three that the National Assembly can only increase the allocation by Sh7 billion to Sh327 billion and not Sh335 billion like the senate wants.

He noted that the increment the Senate is demanding will financially cripple the Government.  

Small money

“Sh300 billion is not small money to buy tea and mandazi. We want counties to prudently utilise the Sh310 billion allocated to them first before asking for more,” said Duale on Saturday during a fundraising in Nandi.

While defending the governors and senators demands, Mr Mandago faulted Treasury for allocating billions to state agencies that end up delivering on functions that are already covered by counties such as water and irrigation.

“We shall push for the scrapping of these parastatals if the money to counties is not increased,” Mandago said.

Sang accused the National Assembly and Treasury for failing to factor in inflation while determining allocations to the counties.

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Council of GovernorsDevolutionRevenue allocationRevenue division