Murkomen: Why I Support Third Basis Revenue Sharing Formula

Elgeyo Marakwet County Senator Kipchumba Murkomen

Hon. Kipchumba Murkomen, E.G.H.,Senator of Elgeyo Marakwet

Questions have emerged over my strong opposition, and that of other Senators, to the proposed Revenue Sharing Formula when our counties are listed as beneficiaries of the same.I would like to state unequivocally that my position and that of my colleagues, Senators Cleophas Malala (Kakamega), Mithika Linturi (Meru), Johnson Sakaja (Nairobi), Boniface Kabaka (Machakos) among others, is predicated on our personal conviction and belief that the sharing of national revenue should not – and must not – be a zero-sum game where for some counties to gain, others must lose!

When I was elected Senator by the people of Elgeyo Marakwet in the 2013 and 2017 elections, I was given the mandate to ensure resources from national government are devolved to the counties; I was tasked with the responsibility of defending and protecting devolution, counties and county governments; I was entrusted with the noble task of fighting for the betterment of the lives of ALL Kenyans!

The questions being raised by Senator Irungu Kang’ata and others, regarding my opposition to a formula that would see Elgeyo Marakwet gain, are an exemplification of how individualistic and self-centred Kenya’s political class has become. Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere. If we support injustice against other counties today, the same injustice will be meted against our counties tomorrow.

I will not, in good conscience, support a formula that seeks to rob and starve small and marginalised counties like Samburu, Tharaka Nithi, Taita Taveta, Tana River, Isiolo and many others, just to ensure my county – Elgeyo Marakwet – gains; because today, it is these marginalised counties that are on the chopping board, but tomorrow it will be Elgeyo Marakwet, or Murang’a, or Kisumu, or Nandi, and many others. We have been fighting to have national government release the billions they are hoarding meant for counties together with the devolved functions. That’s our role and not to bankrupt sister counties. That’s akin to robbing Peter to pay Paul.

You will remember the post-war confessional prose by the German Lutheran Pastor, Martin Niemöller (pronounced as Nimola), that depicts the cowardice of German intellectuals and the clergy during the incremental purging of targeted groups by the Nazis. He said:“First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a socialist.Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a trade unionist.Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Jew.Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.”

We must not allow injustice to take root within our borders; we must not allow counties that have been subjected to abject marginalisation for over 50 years to be cast back into the deep dark chasm of depravation just when they are about to begin the upward trek towards regional development; we must all stand up and speak out against this economic bias!It is possible to have a formula where, while other populous counties gain, the less populous counties do not lose. It is possible to have a win-win formula. Inawezekana!

The unity of our nation is at stake; the very tendons that hold us together as a country are being cut off, and the spirit of fairness and equality which has for decades been our saving grace is being sacrificed at the altar of selfishness and greed.

We must endeavour to build a Senate and a Country that upholds fairness as the basis of decision making. We must rid Kenya of this deeply-entrenched mentality that when one holds public office, they must get something for themselves or enrich their kinsmen and their counties, by hook or by crook. As the Senate and as a leadership, we must stand for one Kenya and one People!

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