Governors move to Supreme Court as county cash standoff escalates
The Council of Governors on Monday moved to the Supreme Court to seek a judicial intervention into the ongoing division of revenue row, marking an escalation of the supremacy battle between the National Assembly and the Senate.
Led by CoG Chair Wycliffe Oparanya, the County bosses and Senators matched to the supreme Court where they filed a case under a certificate of urgency to seek an intervention by Chief Justice Maraga and his team.
The Governors are accusing the National Treasury of continuously holding counties hostage through allocation of funds, leaving the devolved units in a financial crisis.
“Today marks the third week into the new financial year 2019/2020 without an agreement on this stalemate. Over the last six years we have witnessed an onslaught on devolution. In the first term of county governments we saw devolution being undermined through formulation and enactment of policies and laws.
“In this second term devolved governance is being attacked by denying county governments their resources. The National Treasury continues to hold counties hostage by always deviating from commission of revenue allocation recommendations and by constantly denying disbursement of funds to counties,” said Oparanya.
Among what governors want from the supreme court is a determination on the consequence of failure by the National Assembly and Senate to agree on a version of Division of Revenue Bill.
The County bosses also want to know Whether such a failure triggers a vote on account within the meaning of article 222 of the constitution.
They also want a determination on whether the National Assembly can lawfully consider and pass the Appropriation Act, without finalizing the Division of Revenue Bill. President Kenyatta last month signed into law the Appropriation Bill with the existence of the Division of Revenue Bill.
The Division of Revenue Bill 2019 was subjected to mediation following lack of consensus between the Senate and National Assembly with regards to the county government’s equitable share.
The National Assembly had initially proposed Ksh.310 billion for counties and later through mediation they moved to Ksh.316 billion.
The Senate, which was representing the counties in the mediation, had proposed Ksh.335 billion, which, according to CoG was the figure that had been agreed upon with the Commission of Revenue Allocation (CRA).
“The council of governor’s had proposed Ksh.344 billion but because of consensus we had to adopt CRA’s figure of Ksh.335 billion,” said Oparanya. “After mediation, the Senate moved to Ksh.327 billion.”
With the two different positions of the National Assembly and Senate, the negotiations have since collapsed, leaving counties in a financial limbo.
The matter will be mentioned at the Supreme Court on Friday, July 19.