Senators Debate Third Basis CRA Formula

  • Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka (front) leads senators in a meeting on Tuesday, March 31, 2020
    Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka (front) leads senators in a meeting on Tuesday, March 31, 2020
  • A heated session ensued in the Senate on Tuesday, July 28 as senators debated the controversial Third Basis Revenue Allocation Formula.

    The senators were supposed to vote on the debate but a motion was filed to adjourn the debate in order for them to reach a consensus. The motion was supported by Minority Leader James Orengo and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula among others. 

    The motion to adjourn was strongly opposed by Senators including Majority Whip Irungu Kang'ata and Minority Whip Mutula Kilonzo Junior among others

    21:04 PM: Deputy Speaker Margaret Kamar made a ruling on the issue of time, stating that Sakaja's amendment would have to be given the same time for debate as was given to Kangata's rejected amendment.

    She announced the adjournment of the house until Tuesday, August 4 sparking loud reactions from the Senators.

    21:00 PM: Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika proposed that the Senate adjourn the session as it was late, but Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen vehemently opposed it.

    20:45 PM: Narok Senator Ledama Ole Kina seconded an amendment proposed by Sakaja, stating that the formula before the house would only cause division.

    "Our marginalized counties have been marginalized for too long. We cannot be the house that kills devolution," he stated.

    20:27 PM: Debate resumed on the original motion. Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja, who opposed the motion, clashing with Kiambu Senator Kimani Wamatangi who backed it.

    "What does it benefit us to gain 2% while others lose so much?" he posed.

    20:23 PM: Senators voted 25 to 22 against the amendment proposed by Kang'ata.

    20:17 PM: A raucous mood dominated the Senate as they cheered each other on during the voting session.

    19:52 PM: Senators began voting via roll call as the electronic system was down. They were called one by one to sign with their vote.

    19:50 PM: Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka put forward the question on the Kang'ata amendment to postpone the effective date of the third basis formula to the 2022/2023 financial year.

    19:46 PM: Majority Leader Samuel Poghisio sought to rally support for the amendment,  dismissing the assertion that some counties were losers and other winners in the formula.

    "This amendment profits the so-called losers more than the gainers," he stated. He argued that a county such as West Pokot had never received more than Ksh5 billion in the annual allocation yet they were considered gainers. He maintained that it would help bring less developed counties to the level of more developed counties.

    "It is a very reasonable amendment. It ensures the counties called losers get the same amount of money they were getting before," he stated.

    19:43 PM: Kiambu Senator Kimani Wamatangi supported the amendment proposed by Kang'ata.

    He appealed to Senators to come together to find a way out of the situation. Kang'ata observed that the issue would likely have been avoided if the government had allocated the Ksh350 billion to counties proposed by the Senate as opposed to the Ksh316.9 billion in the formula.

    He noted that a middle ground could be found years in the two years it would take before the formula takes effect if the amendment is adopted.

    19:25 PM: Minority Leader James Orengo stated that he was disappointed by the Senate as it seemed to lack vision.

    Orengo poked holes in the formula noting that despite the perception that the allocation was pegged on population, counties including Bungoma and Nairobi were not getting what they deserved.

    In a passionate speech, Orengo noted that he would not support the motion even if his Siaya county beneffited, calling for a compromise to be found.

    "We have lost our minds, with respect, I was hoping we could sit together as a people," he stated.

    19:18 PM: Nyeri Senator Ephraim Maina put up a spirited defense of the formula and the amendment proposed by Kang'ata.

    Backing the 'One Man, One Vote, One Shilling' principle, Maina argued that 'One Man One Vote' was the basis of democracy.

    "We can decide as a house to divide this country or to unite this country," urging his colleagues to support the amendment for the sake of the nation.

    18:55 PM: Kilifi Senator Stewart Madzayo strongly opposed the formula noting that it would negatively impact the Coast region.

    He further stated that it was not in line with ideals of national unity and cohesion, calling for equitable distribution of resources across counties.

    Madzayo further opposed the amendment proposed by Kangata, stating that the amendment was only meant to placate them but would not negate the negative impact of the formula once it took effect.

    18:28 PM: Narok Senator Ledama Ole Kina opposed the motion stating that it was unacceptable to marginalize any county.

    "I oppose this motion because it is dividing this house into two. For how long will be tell the people of Narok, Wajir or Mandera that they will continue being poor. The parameters by CRA were not properly thought out," he asserted.

    18:25 PM: Nyamira Senator Okong'o Omogeni vehemently opposed the amendment stating that the proposed 2-year postponement was lying to the people. 

    "Do you think I support taking money from Turkana or Mandera? I oppose this amendment. Don't lie to us that smile for two years. If you are going to kill us in Nyamira, kill us today," he asserted.

    18:17 PM: Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei welcomed Kang'ata's amendment even though he noted that he would have preferred if the formula took effect immediately.

    "We must agree with this amendment of Kang'ata so we can dispense with this formula. The country needs to move forward, we must agree," he stated.

    Cherargei further challenged Governors in the devolved units to focus on generating revenue within the counties to attain self-sufficiency.

    18:15 PM: Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka put forward a question on whether the report would be amended in line with Kang'ata's proposal.

    18:10 PM: Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang' called for Senators to accept the proposed amendment by Kang'ata.

    He argued that the amendment ensured that no county would gain at the expense of another. 

    "Mr. Speaker I second and I support the amendment," he declared.

    18:05 PM: Senator Irungu Kang'ata moved an amendment meant to ensure that marginalized counties do not lose money in their revenue allocations compared to past financial years.

    He proposed a postponement of the effective date for the formula, noting that he got the idea from the Senator of Nyamira.

    If Kang'ata's amendment is adopted, the third basis formula will commence in the financial year 2022/2023 as opposed to 2020/2021. It will run until 2024/2025.

    "We shall have the status quo at least for a period of time, so let us support this," he stated.

    18:01 PM: Senators voted to reject the adjournment motion by Senator Orengo.

    18:00 PM: The Senate resolved to extend the sitting times pursuant to the standing orders after Speaker Lusaka put forward an oral vote.

    17:59 PM: Vihiga Senator George Khaniri moved to extend the sitting time of the Senate until the matter was revolved.

    17:44 PM: Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka put forward the motion to adjourn the sitting, with Senators voting electronically.

    17:42: Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka struggled to control the heated debate, pleading with Senators to observe social distancing and to consult in low tones.

    17:39 PM: Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika compared adjourning the debate to 'kicking the can down the road'. She has been a vocal proponent of the formula.

    17:35 PM: Vihiga Senator George Khaniri opposed the motion to adjourn, noting that it was unlikely that they would ever agree.

    Khaniri observed that it was unusual to see a Minority Whip and a Minority Leader clash as was witnessed with Orengo and Mutula over the issue.

    17:32 PM: Tharaka Nithi Senator Kithure Kindike strongly opposed the adjournment, further comparing the formula to the African Sessional Paper of 1965 which guided allocation of funds in the years after independence.

    The Sessional Paper primarily saw resources distributed primarily towards regions perceived as productive, indirectly causing the underdevelopment of various areas.

    "No amount of procrastination will help. Let us make our decisions and live with them," he asserted.

    17:30 PM: Minority Whip Mutula Kilonzo Junior opposed the adjournment, stating that it was time for the Senate to declare its stand.

    He stated that postponement would only lead to more lobbying from political players, claiming he had to turn off his phone due to the incessant calls over the matter.

    17:25 PM: Majority Whip Irungu Kang'ata declared his opposition to the adjournment motion, reiterating that the matter needed to be concluded.

    He sought to convince senators that counties would not lose out in the next financial year if they accepted the proposal.

    "I reject the adjournment motion.This is the sixth sitting that we are discussing this. We need now to come and say, this is the end of the discussion," Kang'ata stated.

    17:20 PM: Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula called for the adjournment of the debate citing the weight of the matter at hand.

    17:14 PM: Minority Leader James Orengo called for the Senate to adjourn the debate to instead seek consensus over the issue, warning of the impact the formula would have.

    "Under Standing Order 105, I seek for adjournment of this motion on approval Third Basis for Revenue Allocation Among the County Governments.

    "The resolution that will be made by the Senate will have implications to future generations. Let us go and make further consensus on this issue because it has divided this house.

    "All the amendments before this house should be consolidated and come up with a resolution that we can live with. The hardest decision that have been made world over including Serena decision took time. Let us take time and come up with a solid resolution," he urged.

    Watch the proceedings below: