Governors hit at Kenya Kwanza senators over Sh407b allocations

Governors take a tea break during a Council of Governors legal workshop at PrideInn Beach Hotel in Mombasa on February 28, 2023. [Omondi Onyango, Standard]

The Council of Governors (CoG) has accused Kenya Kwanza senators of sabotaging and killing devolution, after the senators voted against the increment of equitable share of revenue to counties.

The governors are now planning to meet next week to deliberate on the move by senators to approve Sh385 billion as equitable share to counties in the 2023/2024 financial year as opposed to Sh407 billion.

A total 22 Kenya Kwanza senators voted against the Division of Revenue Bill 2023 that had proposed counties get Sh407 billion as equitable share.

Azimio’s position hinged on a report by the Senate Finance Committee, which had set the equitable share at Sh407 billion, hence approving Sh385 billion as an equitable share as had been proposed by the Commission on Revenue Allocation.

Speaking in Matungu constituency, Council of Governors’ Finance Committee Chairperson who doubles as Kakamega Governor, Fernandes Barasa, said Kenya Kwanza senators are against the growth of devolution despite their promise which is pegged on economic transformation for ordinary Kenyans.

“It is a shock, disbelief, and shame that senators have forgotten their responsibilities to protect and support devolution by voting against counties getting more funds to help improve the lives of people,” said Barasa.

The governor said the Kenya Kwanza senators had done a disservice to Kenyans as they do not mean what they stand for.

“As governors, we were ready and willing to take the Sh407 billion as our irreducible minimum, but we are shocked to see Kenya Kwanza legislators voting against the monies and instead approving Sh385 billion. As governors we are going to have a meeting next week to issue a statement condemning the move as a disservice to Kenyans,” said Barasa.

“Today indeed is a very dark day as far as devolution in this country is concerned. We have seen a situation on the floor of the Senate where Kenya Kwanza senators have conspired to deny funds to counties,” said Enock Wambua, Senate Deputy Minority Leader.

In the Division of Revenue Bill, 2023, Treasury had proposed an allocation of Sh385.4 billion to counties, an increment of Sh15.4 billion from the current financial year’s allocation of Sh370 billion.

In the Bill, Treasury proposed an allocation of Sh2.15 trillion, or 87.4 per cent of the projected national revenues. Governors had demanded Sh425 billion, a figure the National Government said was unrealistic in light of financial constraints facing the Exchequer.

This comes against a backdrop of delay in disbursement of funds to counties, which has seen some counties going up to two months without paying their workers.

Earlier this week, the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists, and Dentists Union said four counties - Vihiga, Kisumu, Bomet, and Nyamira - are yet to pay doctors.