By Gor Ogutu
The Building Brides Initiative (BBI) and the much touted handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga is now under siege in Central Kenya.
Leaders from the region are now reading sinister motives in the failure of the Senate to dispense with the Division of Revenue Bill.
It has now emerged that rising political temperatures informed the change of mind by ODM leader Raila Odinga who had proposed adoption of the Commission for Revenue Allocation (CRA) formula for the next five years. Mr. Odinga now supports a win-win model.
Mount Kenya politicians, a constituency the BBI agenda heavily depends on, are not a happy lot. “The BBI to us right now is not a priority. We have lots of problems to deal with as a region like Covid-19 and this prevailing stalemate over revenue division,” Kiambu County Leader of Majority Anthony Ikonya told The Times.
Hon. Ikonya says the political class in Central Kenya remains opposed to certain issues being floated in the BBI proposals such as the scrapping of the 47 devolved units to make way for positions of super regional governors, a development that could see Central Kenya reduced to only a few devolved units; as few as two or three.
“The term marginalized is a very colonial way of describing regions and incorrect. Some of these counties saying they stand to lose much if the CRA formula is implemented can still be catered for by the equalization fund and are not entirely devoid of agricultural economic activities since they rear livestock which probably earns more in a day than a Kikuyu in Kiambu whose matatu earns Sh3,000 per day,” says Mr. Ikonya.
The Central Kenya political leaders now blame a governor from North Eastern Kenya for funding the stalemate that saw the Senate adjourn debate for a record 7th time this past week.
“We have Senators being paid from places very well-known by a North Eastern Kenya Governor so as to sabotage the revenue division process and not to carry out their constitutional duty of passing a critical legislation and this is an issue more critical to us than the BBI,” said Mr. Ikonya who is also the Kiambu Town MCA.
However, Senate Minority Whip and Senator for Makueni County Mutula Kilonzo Juniour rubbished the claims of external interference in the Senate to deny Mount Kenya, ostensibly poised to reap big if the current population-based sharing of revenue proposal is adopted, its fair share of revenue.
“Hon. Ikonya is at liberty to report the senators involved. Each senator has only one vote,” said Sen. Mutula Kilonzo.
According to Ex-Kiambu Governor William Kabogo, the BBI is currently not a priority for the region. “ It’s very unfortunate that leaders are busy engaging on the politics of succession while Wanjiku is dying of Corona and money set for help are reportedly misused, It’s high time the government should serve its people and warn politicians of unnecessary politics,” says Kabogo.
The former County chief insists the region will only back BBI if it assures economic development for residents of Central Kenya. “We as leaders should first think of how our people will benefit rather than championing for divisive politics.” he says.
Kabogo has also warned political figures in central Kenya angling to reap from implementation of BBI or its failure saying those engaging in divisive politics should stop and join President Uhuru Kenyata in championing for a united nation.
“How can we talk of succession in Mount Kenya while Uhuru is still in State House? That is very disrespectful. We should instead support him and help him execute his agenda for his people,” says Kabogo.