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Kenya: Senators Arrested, House Suspended Over Budget Row

The lawmakers are contesting a proposed formula which suggests that 18 less populous counties of North Eastern, lower Eastern, Coast and parts of Rift Valley regions get less share.

Kenyan senators say three of their colleagues have been arrested ahead of a vote on budgetary allocations to counties.

They called for the adjournment of the special sitting that was convened to debate the controversial third basis formula for revenue sharing. The vote on sharing Sh 316.5 billion ($2.9 billion) among 47 counties has been postponed a record eight times.

The disputed formula proposed by the Finance and Budget Committee, 18 less populous counties of North Eastern, lower Eastern, Coast and parts of Rift Valley regions are losing Sh17 billion.

It has been rejected by senators from those regions who have also successfully managed to win over at least seven lawmakers from the counties that will gain funds.

Former Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen told the senate on Monday that Senators Cleophas Malala, Christopher Langat were arrested at their homes in the capital, Nairobi, while Ltumbesi Lelegwe was arrested on his way to the senate.

The police have yet to respond to the claims.

The senators on Monday called for an adjournment of proceedings to debate the alleged arrest of their colleagues.

Adjourning the sitting, House Speaker Ken Lusaka said: “All of you have raised very serious concerns about our colleagues who are not here and I want to agree that I am a servant of this House and when one is mistreated we must stand together as a team.”

Police officers dressed in blue and jungle green could be spotted around his house on Monday morning.

The stalemate over the formula has stalled the passage of the County Allocation of Revenue Bill (CARA), 2020, legislation that outlines how the Sh316.5 billion allocated to the counties in the 2020-21 budget should be shared.