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Raila returns from medical leave straight into revenue, BBI talks

By Protus Onyango, Jacob Ngetich and Rawlings Otieno | August 4th 2020 at 12:00:00 GMT +0300

President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga at a past function. [File, Standard]

Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga is now back in circulation after taking time away to tend to personal health challenges.

In his absence, the Senate sunk the official government position on the third formula for sharing revenue among counties, even as succession politics wobbled.

But on Sunday evening, photographs appeared of Raila accompanied by Siaya Senator James Orengo, Igembe North MP Maoka Maore and two former Gatanga MPs Peter Kenneth and David Murathe in a meeting at Cotu boss Francis Atwoli’s Kajiado home — and he is back at the centre of issues.

“We thank God for taking care of Raila while he was undergoing medication. I am humbled that he chose my Ildamat home to have lunch with us,” Atwoli said.

Murathe, who is the Jubilee Party vice chairman, said they met for lunch and discussed national issues, including the formula for revenue allocation to the counties which was rejected by the Senate on Tuesday.

“I met Raila in Malindi on Saturday and we agreed to have lunch at Atwoli’s place the next day. In our discussions, we took stock of what happened at the Senate and arrived at a way forward,” Murathe told The Standard.

Atwoli, a strong supporter of BBI, has used his home to host pro-BBI governors, MPs and other leaders from the larger Western Kenya to scheme on how the region should support the initiative.

Moving forward

In May, Atwoli hosted 40 MPs, governors and a Cabinet Secretary from the Luhya community in his bid to lobby them to support BBI.

Murathe has been mobilising the Mt Kenya region to back the Uhuru-Raila pact and has on many occasions said the president is not entitled to hand over power to his deputy William Ruto.

On the Sunday meeting, Murathe said they discussed how to move the BBI agenda forward amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Ministry of Health, in its protocols to fight the virus, has banned political gatherings, making it hard for proponents of the BBI to sell its agenda.

The initiative’s report is ready and the task force chaired by Garissa Senator Yussuf Haji has said it will hand it over to Kenyatta at an appropriate time.

The Kajiado meeting resolved that the report should be made available to Kenyans to read and discuss.

BBI also has the support of Kanu party leader and Baringo Senator Gideon Moi, who over the weekend hosted Atwoli, Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa and other leaders from the Western region.

Raila resurfaces in the public limelight when the country’s leadership is trying to solve the impasse in the Senate on the new formula on sharing revenue among counties. He has blamed the Senate for going against its own recommendations on sharing revenue among counties.

To solve the impasse, he had proposed that the funds should be shared based on the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA)’s formula for the next five years and any amendments required sent to the commission for review.

Paralysis and mistrust

He has expressed his concerns that the stand-off is causing paralysis and mistrust at a time Kenya needs to be united and singularly focused on tackling the pandemic.

“It has also taken a dangerous ethnic undertone instead of being a level-headed debate on the nation’s development trajectory,” Odinga had said earlier.

At the Kajiado meeting, Maore and Orengo were tasked with ensuring that the formula for revenue allocation is passed to pave the way for the counties to start receiving cash.


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