Revenue allocation row: What next for Governors

Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Muriithi has endorsed the Council of Governors’ move to shut down services delegated to devolved units accusing institutions such as the Senate of failing in their respective mandates.

Muriithi joins other governors including Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua to threaten to withdraw key services as advised by the Council of Governors until the impasse on the 3rd basis revenue sharing formula is resolved.

Muriithi says while services in the Counties will be affected by the decision, county administrations will endeavor to prioritize critical and lifesaving services.

He said the blame lies squarely with the Senate for its failure to agree on a formula as well as to pass the County Allocation of Revenue bill 2020 based on the existing formula.

Ndiritu further blamed Treasury and the Controller of budget for their failure to disburse 50% of the equitable share to Counties to enable them run their operations.

Mutua was the first Governor to heed to the directive from the Council saying Machakos County Government will shut down its operations in accordance with the instructions.

“As it stands right now, Machakos County will not be in a position to pay salaries of staff, including health workers due to lack of money from the exchequer. The slowdown of the economy due to COVID-19 has meant that the revenue we collect has been heavily affected.” He said.

Mutua further urged the Senate to stop the bickering saying the law is clear that should there be a stalemate on the revenue sharing formula, the existing one should take effect until the impasse is solved.

Senators however dismissed the directive to shut down Counties and withdraw services saying the Council of Governors Chairperson Wycliffe Oparanya has no basis in law to issue such a directive.

The legislators warning Governors against implementing the directive from the Council saying they will be held personally liable of any death occasioned by the withdrawal of health services.

A point of law that seems to resonate with Constitutional Lawyer Ashford Mugwuku who says the Council of governors has no authority under the law to issue such a directive saying it points to a lack of leadership in the Council.

Mugwuku accused Oparanya of behaving like a trade unionist by taking advantage of the stalemate in the Senate to issue unconstitutional orders.

The constitutional lawyer says devolution is meant to benefit the people and ordering a withdrawal of services to those it is designed to help goes against the tenets of the concept.

He says the Senate has failed as an institution even as he urged the Government not to use the revenue sharing formula to settle political scores.

According to Mugwuku, the Government should release funds to Counties based on  the current formula, or even disburse 50% of the equitable share in accordance with the Supreme Court advisory opinion.


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