The senate of Kenya has been rocked with bribery claims in the ongoing vicious fight for the appropriate revenue formula as the government backed revenue sharing proposal flopping for the record 9th time and sowing deep division within the legislators in the chamber and outside.
However, its now emerging that 6 vocal and influential senators in the chamber have allegedly been bribed to scuttle any efforts of success in the government backed formula that would see some counties lose to the tune of millions. The scheme of bribery according to sources familiar involve senior government officials and 6 governors who intend to ‘buy’ senators and contributed millions to this effect.
The acrimony in the division of revenue formula has led to formation of 12 members committee to build consensus and effectively reduce tensions.
There are counties that reportedly contributed Sh10 million to secure the support of the six senators in rejecting the formula. the senior government official added Sh50 million to this war chest, putting at the disposal of six senators about Sh60 million to viciously oppose the formula.
The government official, according to the source, badly needed the government-backed revenue-sharing proposal to flop to the extent that he sought ways to ensure that the 18 counties that were set to be lose in proposed government championed proposal what they have been allocated to date scuttle the government formula.
“That is a public secret. The official has been coming here nearly every day. It is not a secret anymore. That is why you are seeing some senators changing their stand as late as Monday,” a senator who sought anonymity said off-the-record.
This complex network of negotiations, underhand dealings amongst senators and compromise was the reason ODM leader Raila Odinga, while condemning the action against senators that were arrested in flimsy grounds, made references to lack of integrity among elected leaders, reason he said was compromising the ability of the legislators in checking the state and hamper their prospects in delivering their mandate.
The new government-backed formula, was developed by the House Finance and Budget Committee, reduces allocations to 18 counties by Sh17 billion and tops it in the most populous counties in what proponents now refer #1shilling1vote.
The formula has deadlocked in the Senate for more than two months.
The formula has been opposed by the senators from the counties that would suffer revenue reduction should the new formula be adopted with the support of seven senators from the gaining side among the winning counties among them Kakamega, Kajiado, Nairobi, Lamu, Elgeyo Marakwet and Kericho senators who argue for win-win formula.
However, the proposal has been supported by senators and other political heavyweights from the gaining counties, more so Central Kenya, Nyanza and Rift Valley. The gaining counties have higher populations in which current formula is premised.
Some of the lawmakers however who spoke to the Star dismissed the claims as hearsay, rumors and politics aimed at diverting the attention from the real issue.
“I am not aware of bribery on the part of senators supporting the formula. I can’t speak on behalf of those opposing,” said Majority Chief Whip Irungu Kang’ata, who is leading the camp supporting the formula.
“The events have also laid bare the so-far unsuccessful struggle to make integrity and search for public good over private gain the basis of our politics and holding of public offices,” ODM Leader said referring senators questionable moral standing.
However, this is not the first-time senators have been implicated in bribery allegations. In 2018, for instance the Senate County Public Accounts and Investments Committee fought off bribery claims by Nairobi businessman Francis Mburu.