Why Ruto is man to unlock stand-off
- Those leading the support for the formula in the Tangatanga group are Nakuru senator Susan Kihika and her Nandi counterpart Samson Cherargei.
Former Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen, former Deputy Speaker Kithure Kindiki, Bomet senator Christopher Lang’at and his Kericho counterpart Aaron Cheruiyot are among those who have opposed the formula.
For Deputy President William Ruto, the debate on the revenue-sharing formula in the Senate has him in an unfamiliar spot — the apparent saviour.
Having been thrown out of the workings of government in favour of a new-found ally, Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga, the DP and his allies now find themselves being sought to back the formula that will decide how much each of the 47 counties receive from the Exchequer.
As it stands, leading figures in the Tangatanga camp, allied to the DP, are opposed to the revenue-sharing formula that will see 19 counties, mainly the less populous and marginalised, lose up to Sh17 billion, money that will go into the pockets of the remaining 28 counties mainly in central Kenya, western Kenya and Rift Valley.
Former Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen, former Deputy Speaker Kithure Kindiki, Bomet senator Christopher Lang’at and his Kericho counterpart Aaron Cheruiyot are among those who have opposed the formula, calling for more time to debate it.
Prof Kindiki leads what he says is a group of 30 senators who believe “the argument that some regions are useless, bushes, deserts, or unproductive is misleading, false and a trivial philosophy”. He supports the arguments by senators from counties that will lose money over the formula.
Those running this camp, most from counties that stood to gain from the formula, have chosen to adopt a solidarity front with the losing counties mostly in the Coast and North Eastern — regions that the DP is looking to court for his 2022 presidential bid, and which have, previously, shown its liking for the country’s second-in-command.
Caught in this argument for the DP is the need to woo the vote-rich Mt Kenya region, which backs the formula that stands to gain them billions, with Senate Majority Whip Irungu Kang’ata pegging the success or failure of the Uhuru-Raila ‘handshake’ on the support of the formula.
Those leading the support for the formula in the Tangatanga group are Nakuru senator Susan Kihika and her Nandi counterpart Samson Cherargei.
“On this, the chickens are coming home to roost. We warned our colleagues that the Handshake was political conmanship. We knew it was not genuine at all, and we warned our colleagues that sometimes the grass is not as green as it looks on the other side,” Ms Kihika told the Nation yesterday.
“We are not surprised that the ‘handshake’ is threatening to crumble at the first sign of trouble. What surprises us is how fast the truth came out.”
Ms Kihika, who was removed from her seat as the Senate Majority Whip because of her dalliance with Mr Ruto, described as hypocritical the argument that the DP was leading efforts against the formula. She cited the removal of Mr Murkomen, Prof Kindiki, herself, Mr Cherargei, and Mr Lang’at from key committees and parliamentary positions as cases where the Uhuru-Raila alliance “boasted of its numbers in the Senate.”
Mr Cherargei leads the camp that says the monies should only be sent to counties based on the number of people, and not land mass as this, he says, is akin to “sending money to trees... The spirit of devolution was to provide equitable distribution. It doesn’t make sense to give the same to Kiambu and Mandera. The proposal by the committee should be adopted as it is. Let us give it the necessary support for an equitable Kenya. The principal should be one man, one vote, one shilling,” Mr Cherargei said.