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Central Kenya push for revenue share parity sparks resistance

 When a section of Mt Kenya leaders posed for a picture with opposition leader Raila Odinga after BBI deliberations on revenue sharing formula. [ Jenipher Wachie, Standard]

The one man, one vote, one shilling push by a section of Mt Kenya leaders has degenerated into an inter-regional issue with pastoralist communities. 

Mt Kenya leaders have revived the debate through Parliament due to what they claim is discrimination in revenue allocation owing to their contribution to the growth domestic product (GDP) 

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, on April 31, joined the bandwagon pushing for change of revenue allocation model, saying he had summoned MPs from his region to draft a Bill to address ‘inequities over revenue sharing’.

“We must fight for our rights. We have directed our MPs to draft a law on one man one vote one shilling so that revenue resources can commensurate with the population,” Gachagua said during celebration of artist Muigai Njoroge at Thika stadium. 

He joined a list of legislators from Mt Kenya region agitating for more revenue to constituencies and counties.

MPs Simon Kingara (Ruiru), GG Kagombe (Gatundu South), Gathoni Wamuchomba (Githunguri), Njoroge Kururia (Gatundu North), Ndindi Nyoro (Kiharu) have been pushing for bursary allocation based on population density.

“It’s unfair that Ruiru is treated similarly to some constituencies in North Eastern with less than 5,000 residents. Where is equity and how I am supposed to educate children in my area?” posed Kingara. 

He cited an incident where one person was killed in Githurai 45 and several injured following a stampede during issuance of bursary forms. 

“My allocation is the same with those for MPs with fewer people. Over 70,000 applied for the bursary but the allocation is not enough to cater for an increasing number of needy students,” he said.

Already, Wamuchomba had written to the Speaker of the National Assembly over the Bill which she insists should be discussed alongside demands by the opposition. 

“It is a constitutional moment for the country and a referendum is inevitable, the five proposals of the amendment of revenue allocation formula must be included in ongoing debate,” she said. 

Mr Kagombe has gone further to claim that Kiambu students were not getting fair opportunities in their schools because of those from North Eastern counties, remarks that caught attention of the National Commission Integration Commission (NCIC).

“Our bursary is strained because children from other localities come to Kiambu to study. Everyone must study in their respective counties,” he said.

In response, NCIC chief executive Harrison Kariuki said: “Words that were calculated to be inciting, threatening abusive and insulting contrary to Section 13 (1) (a) of the National Cohesion and Integration Act.” 

Pastoralist communities

Leaders and activists from pastoralist communities have dared their counterparts from Mt Kenya, saying they are ready to face them in Parliament. 

They termed the one man one vote one shilling divisive, and the debate around it as a show of intolerant against Arid and semi-arid lands (Asals) in Northern Kenya.

“It has become a common concurrence by a few leaders from Central Kenya attacking the people of Northern Kenya and their leaders. What are the motives driving their deep-rooted hatred? One is left to wonder what is the source of their obsession with shared revenue when regions have remained economically isolated for over 50 years and have never expressed such anger towards Central Kenya,” Mandera Senator Ali Roba said. 

He called on his counterparts to tolerate each other or ‘risk to perish as a country’, describing Central Kenya leaders’ statements as ‘reckless and dangerous’.

Nominated MP Umulkher Harun said; “We know the discussion has already started but the Pastoralists Parliament Caucus (PPG) has the biggest number in Bunge. Let them bring it on and we shall oppose it early in the morning and it shall not see light of the day.”

Fatuma Saman, an activist, said Kenya chose to revolutionise the country through constitutional reform that provided for a level playing field for all Kenyans.

“Do not take the face value of any discussions of debate geared towards constitutional review, referendum or change of law. The ugly snake of dictatorship and discrimination is rearing its head. Beware of sentiments of those who think they own Kenya and others are ghosts,” she tweeted. 

The leaders also slammed Kagombe for his assertions that it is their grandparents who built the prestigious schools in Mt Kenya reminding him that it was as a result of Christian missionaries and their colonial cousins’ settlement in Aberdare ranges and parts of Rift Valley, a move that gave the regions undue advantage compared to Asal areas.

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