ODM leader Raila Odinga wrapped his Coast visit in Mombasa, even as most elected leaders under his party kept off his tour, in a sign of discontent over the party’s handling of the revenue stalemate.
Mr Odinga’s five-day tour of the region, where he pushed hard at Deputy President William Ruto in his impromptu rallies as he sought to solidify his stronghold and cut back any gains the DP has made, was being seen as an appeasement, and explainer on his position over the revenue allocation stalemate.
From Taita Taveta to Kwale and Mombasa, Mr Odinga did not hold back, using every opportunity on the roadside rallies to castigate Dr Ruto as an opportunistic politician hell bent on taking advantage of the unemployed youths with his ‘Hustler Nation’ message.
But throughout the visit, Mr Odinga received cold reception from political leaders both in Taita and Kwale, save for Mombasa where almost all the ODM party MPs managed to attend his meeting at the Wild Waters resort on Saturday.
Interestingly, none of the elected leaders from neighbouring Kilifi, where ODM holds all parliamentary positions, attended any of his meetings.
Those who attended the Mombasa meeting, and also tagged along for Mr Odingas’ impromptu roadside rallies within Mombasa included Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho, Abdulswamad Nassir (Mvita), Mishi Mboko (Likoni), Twalib Badi (Jomvu, Omar Mwinyi (Changamwe) and Mombasa Woman Representative Asha Hussein.
In his first day in Taita-Taveta County, only area Governor Granton Samboja, Wundanyi MP Danson Mwashako and Voi MP Jones Mlolwa accompanied Mr Odinga.
Revenue sharing formula
In Kwale, the situation was not different as Senator Isa Juma Boy and MP Zuleikha Hassan accompanied the former prime minister during a delegates meeting, as compared to previous years, where all party MPs were present in his meetings and rallies.
Coast legislators have been protesting against ODM top leadership for not pushing their agenda to oppose the proposed county revenue sharing formula, threatening to ditch the party in favour of their own regional vehicle.
In July over 10 legislators, led by Kilifi North MP Owen Baya, said it was time to severe links with ODM over its stance on the revenue allocation formula.
Of the ODM elected leaders who attended the press conference at Parliament, it was only Mr Mlolwa who attended Mr Odinga’s meeting as the rest kept off.
Mr Ruto tried to take advantage of the discontent to gain support by visiting Mombasa and meeting various leaders to strengthen his support in the region, which has been an ODM Party stronghold for years.
A fortnight ago, DP Ruto was in Mombasa and Taveta, where he held a series of meetings with political and religious leaders, addressing a rally in Nyali.
Over the weekend, and through his tour, Mr Odinga trooped in, on the backdrop of the revenue stalemate that has seen the Coast region dither over his position, to “explain” himself, while at the same time checkmate any gains Mr Ruto could have made.
“We have seen those in senior government positions moving round promising and giving handouts. Kenyans should be against accepting piecemeal promises and gifts which are unsustainable and not anchored in the government’s agenda,” said Mr Odinga, in a direct jibe at the Deputy President.
“What we are seeing someone in the government doing is giving vulnerable Kenyans fish instead of teaching them how to fish,” the ODM leader said.
Mr Odinga said what the DP did cannot be sustained by the government, adding that this will only be solved by embracing issues highlighted in the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report.
“How can somebody who has been in government for close to eight years work against what Cabinet and his boss are pushing for. What he is giving to the vulnerable group is not sustainable and it can only be addressed by amending the Constitution to ensure adequate funds reach Kenyans at the grassroots,” said Mr Odinga.
In all his consultative meetings, the ODM leader sought a buy in from the political leadership and residents over his stance on the revenue allocation stalemate at the Senate, arguing that the BBI final draft which will be presented to him and President Uhuru Kenyatta in the next few days, has detailed how Kenyans will be empowered by ensuring adequate funds are devolved.
“What Senators are differing in terms of revenue sharing to the counties will be addressed in the referendum which I and President Kenyatta are advocating for. What is being shared to the counties is a paltry 10 per cent of the total Kenyan budget, but once the amendments are passed, counties will be receiving more than 35 per cent of total funds in the budget,” he said.
Mr Odinga wants the proposed third generation formula for revenue sharing deferred to next financial year to pave way for the disbursement of funds to counties.
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