The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) has denied claims by some MPs from Coast that it leader Raila Odinga has betrayed the region supporting the contentious revenue sharing formula.
In an interview with the Nation on Monday, ODM Chairman John Mbadi, who is also the Minority Leader in the National Assembly, said Mr Odinga was misunderstood as he does not support the formula which will see marginalised counties lose millions of shillings from the national government.
Mr Mbadi said the ODM leader wants the Senate to factor in a method in which the counties which will lose from the formula are cushioned. He added that Mr Odinga is concerned over why the Finance Committee did not factor it in.
“I think Kenyans need to be educated on what Raila said. He did not support a formula which will see marginalised counties lose but he was categorical in faulting the senators for failing to factor in the recommendations by Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) on how these counties will be cushioned, a matter which the Finance Committee, chaired by Kirinyaga Senator Charles Kibiru ignored,” Mr Mbadi said.
On Monday last week, Mr Odinga said the country and its people would be better served if “we adopted the recommendation of the CRA for the next five years”.
“The recommendation is built on lessons from a comprehensive review of the second basis, a comparative analysis of financing transfer systems from other countries and extensive consultations with national and county governments, public finance experts and the public, in an independent and non-partisan manner.
“In order to avoid a similar stand-off next time, the concerns currently arising should be forwarded to the CRA for consideration in its future recommendation,” Mr Odinga said.
According to Mr Mbadi, a firebrand defender of Mr Odinga, the Coast MPs should blame themselves for failing to offer what he termed as quality representation to the people who elected them.
He further said that the debate surrounding the proposed formula has been going on since last year but those MPs attacking Mr Odinga have been silent over the matter until the last minute.
“I find it illogical for the likes of Owen Baya and the team to train their arsenal on Raila yet this debate has been on since last year but they have never done anything about it. In other words, they have failed their people hence they should come out and apologise to the Coast people,” said Mr Mbadi.
He added, “Baya is a member of ODM National Executive Council (NEC) but he has never used the structures of the party to raise this matter with the party.”
On Thursday, some 10 lawmakers from the Coast region, led by Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa and Nyali’s Mohammed Ali, stated that despite their unwavering political support for Mr Odinga’s party over the years, they have been neglected on important national issues.
The leaders said ODM’s decision to support the revenue sharing formula was a clear demonstration of betrayal by Mr Odinga.
The formula, if adopted, would see Mombasa County lose Sh513 million, Kwale Sh1.213 billion, Kilifi Sh1.192 billion, Tana River Sh458 million and Taita-Taveta Sh388 million.
Mr Mbadi said it was unfair for the Coast MPs to single out just the four senators from Nyanza when even those from Deputy President William Ruto’s political bastion have thrown their weight behind the formula.
“Why are they complaining now and we have had this conversation since last year and they never said anything? Someone like Baya who is the deputy organising secretary of the party has never raised the matter with the party. This is hypocritical because it is not only senators from Raila’s backyard who have backed this formula because their counties are gaining,” he said.