The one man, one vote paradigm has been a universal clarion call by advocates of political equality since medieval times. To the ordinary citizen, it simply equates to universal suffrage, proportional representation or the elimination of plural voting and malapportionment.
In simple terms, the one man one vote rule dictates that one person’s voting power ought to be roughly equivalent to another person’s within the same country.
In view of this, it is therefore logical to conclude that when it comes to resource allocation, the same rule should be the applying principle- the mapping of resources should be equal to the number of people who are represented, rather than the geographical area involved.
Therein lies the chaos that was recently witnessed in the Kenyan senate where some senators implied that resource allocation should be defined according to the geographical area of a region, even if the region is sparsely populated.
According to the misguided representatives from the North-Eastern counties of Kenya, allocation should be on an absurd one-man, one-kilometer basis. This hypocrisy simply goes against the theory of universal representation as the standard of equality.
President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration, through the constitutionally-mandated Commission of Revenue Allocation (CRA), has come up with a new formula that puts a premium on each county’s population. The formula EQUITABLY allocates the revenue generated at the national level between the national purse and the counties. Under the new formula, counties with high populations such as Nairobi,Kakamega,Siaya and Kiambu are set to be allocated more funds against those with lower populations such as Lamu, Marsabit and Mandera.
Besides population, basic equal share, poverty, land area, development, personnel emolument and fiscal responsibility, the new formula places particular emphasis on county functions.
As at now, Someone in Wajir/Mandera/Lamu or in the far-flung counties receives an aggregate of Kes Sh38,000 per person while someone in Nakuru/Kakamega/Kiambu receives an average of Kes Sh5,000.This can explain why the man in Wajir can afford to marry 5 wives while the man in Kiambu struggles to feed his one wife and children. This discrepancy was too big and needed to be balanced out. In essence, Mt Kenya counties contribute about 60 per cent of Kenya’s GDP yet only 20 per cent is allocated to the region. That is why the CRA allocation formula easily makes sense.
Furthermore, the MPs and senators from North Eastern Kenya are quick to forget that their counties are beneficiaries of the equalization fund that was created for improving selected basic services in marginalized counties.
It is on this premise that the CRA recommendations of One man, One vote, One shilling MUST be adopted if Kenya is to achieve the ‘developed world’ economic status it eagerly craves.
President Kenyatta, through the CRA, has set the ball rolling -ensuring that as every Kenyan gains through optimal allocation, no Kenyan loses significantly.