Kenya’s 47 county governments will shut down some of their services and close hospitals to new patients after their representatives in the Senate failed to resolve a dispute over a new scheme to share revenue between them.
The scheme aims to distribute cash by population size. Critics say it takes away funds from less-populated, poor regions and gives them to those that are economically stronger. Supporters of the plan say it will ensure a more equitable distribution of cash.
The deadlock in the Senate means no cash has been disbursed to local authorities, since a new formula needs to be in place for the cash to be released.
County health facilities will not admit new patients, the council of county governors said in a notice to its members on Wednesday, saying the hospitals will only offer limited outpatient services.
“All non-essential services are hereby suspended and county employees are advised to proceed on leave for two weeks,” the council said in the notice.
There was no immediate comment from the Senate or the national government.
Established by a new constitution in 2010 to try and spread national wealth to more people in the grassroots, the county governments have opened a new front in the East African nation’s fractious politics.
On Tuesday, President Uhuru Kenyatta offered to add 50 billion shillings ($462 million), to the 15% of national revenue that counties are entitled to, in the financial year starting from next July, in an attempt to break the standoff.