In a contentious decision that highlighted ongoing fiscal concerns, the Senate has approved a revenue allocation of KSh 385.4 billion to county governments for the 2023/24 fiscal year. This increase of KSh 15 billion from the current allocation of KSh 370 billion represents a compromise as senators rejected a more ambitious proposal of KSh 407 billion.
During the Thursday, April 20th session, 22 senators from the ruling Kenya Kwanza party voted against the higher proposal, which was supported by the Council of Governors (CoG) and the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA). In contrast, nine opposition senators voiced their disappointment, accusing their colleagues of undermining devolution.
Senate Minority Leader Ledama Olekina (Narok) lamented the outcome, stating, “Today, indeed, is a very dark day as far as devolution in this country is concerned.” Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna expressed similar sentiments, accusing ruling party senators of betraying the counties they were sworn to protect.
However, Senate Majority Leader Aaron Cheruiyot and other Kenya Kwanza senators defended their decision, citing the nation’s precarious financial situation. “Where do you expect money to come from? We had to make a difficult decision of beginning to teach Kenyans to live within our means and know that there is no other source other than being fiscally responsible,” Cheruiyot explained.
This fiscal reality was echoed by Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, who noted on April 9th that the government was struggling to pay civil servant salaries. President William Ruto confirmed the delay, emphasizing that his administration would not borrow to cover recurrent expenditures.