Cabinet okays Budget reading as 4 lobbies seek to stop its tabling

Thursday June 13 2019

MAUREEN KAKAH
By MAUREEN KAKAH
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Four lobbies on Thursday moved to court to stop National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich from tabling the 2019-2020 Budget even as a special Cabinet session chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta approved its reading.

The Kenya Human Rights Commission, Transparency International, Africa Centre for Open governance (Africog) and the Institute for Social Accountability (Tisa) on Thursday filed the case in Nairobi, a few hours to Mr Rotich’s speech in Parliament.

They argue that the Budget cannot be tabled in the House before it approves the Division of Revenue Bill.

They claim since the said Bill dictates sharing of revenue raised nationally between the two levels of government, it would not be possible for counties to deliver.

The lobbies have sued the Attorney General and CS Rotich.

They have listed the Council of Governors as an interested party in the suit.

Through lawyer Haggai Chimei, they that reading of the Budget on Thursday would ultimately paralyse operations of county governments.

“Tabling the budget estimates without incorporation of the Division of Revenue Bill, 2019 is illegal and unconstitutional since the process under the Constitution is to be conducted within the same timeframes,” said Mr Chimei.

A joint parliamentary mediation team made up of members of the National Assembly and Senate failed to agree on a compromise version of the Bill.

Lobbies argued that devolution is entirely dependent on vertical sharing of revenues in the absence of which it is not possible for the counties to deliver on their mandate and services.

Mr Rotich is scheduled to table the Budget in Parliament at 3pm.