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Governors now turn to Uhuru in counties’ funds stalemate

Monday August 5 2019

Council of Governors

Council of Governors Chairman Wycliffe Oparanya (right) and Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana during a past conference on the future of devolution. CoG has appealed to President Uhuru Kenyatta to step in and sort out the stalemate on funding to counties. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

CAROLINE WAFULA
By CAROLINE WAFULA
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The Council of Governors (CoG) has appealed to President Uhuru Kenyatta to step in and sort out the stalemate on funding to counties.

CoG Chairman Wycliffe Oparanya pleaded with the President to intervene, saying he has all the powers to bring the stalemate to an end to relieve counties and governors from the current financial crisis.

The Kakamega governor said the hard stance that has been taken by the Senate and National Assembly over revenue sharing between the two levels of government is hurting counties.

REFEREE

He equated the current standoff to a fight between two bulls, saying when that happens, it is the grass that suffers and that in the current situation, the President should be the referee.

Mr Oparanya was speaking in Koru on Saturday during the burial ceremony of Bomet Governor Joyce Laboso.

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“In this case, we have two bulls fighting – the Senate and the National Assembly. It is us the governors feeling the pinch. You are the referee, you have all the power to determine who wins,” Mr Oparanya told President Kenyatta.

MAJORITY LEADERS

He pleaded with the Head of State to rein in majority leaders in the Senate (Kipchumba Murkomen) and National Assembly (Adan Duale) to call their troops to cease fire so that funding for counties can be unlocked to end the current predicament.

“We appeal to you as counties, please rein in Mr Murkomen and Mr Duale to make sure the issue of division of revenue is sorted out,” he said.

Last week, the National Assembly opposed the second reading of the Division of Revenue Bill, 2019, on grounds that it was not properly before the House.

The MPs sent the Bill back to the Senate in a republished version, maintaining their initial allocation of Sh316 billion to counties.

SENATE VERSION

The Senate on the other hand, had passed its version of the Bill proposing Sh335 billion. Both sides have refused to cede ground in the stalemate.

Mr Oparanya argued that governors had done their part when they made their contribution to the Intergovernmental Budget and Economic Council that was convened and chaired by the deputy president in a bid to resolve the issue.

He said governors only moved to the Supreme Court not to look for money but to seek clarifications in a bid to end the stalemate.

“We went to court because we feel we are part of the solution. We can't just sit there and things are going wrong,” he said, pleading with Parliament to make a decision quickly so that the country can move forward.

Earlier, Mr Oparanya had claimed that some counties would be unable to pay July salaries to their staff because a number have run out of cash.