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MPs in Fresh Bid to Expand Executive, Reduce DP’s Influence

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A section of Members of the National Assembly is plotting fresh attempts to expand the Executive and dilute the powers of the office of the Deputy President.

The Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee (CIOC) under the leadership of Ndaragwa MP, Jeremiah Kioni has launched a fresh bid to create five new offices, by splitting the office of the Deputy President into two and creating the office of a Prime Minister and his two deputies.

According to the draft of the proposal, the Prime Minister, who will be appointed by the party with the highest number of MPs, will chair Cabinet meetings, which are currently chaired by the president.

The Kioni-led committee is in Mombasa, going through the draft Bill, which was prepared by Parliament’s legal office.

Lawmakers seated in Parliament.

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“It is necessary to dilute the DP position so that people can stop wrestling for it. Right now everyone is jostling for the position,” Kioni defended the move.

However, the Majority leader Amos  Kimunya has warned that pushing the amendments through parliament as suggested by CICO will draw back the democratic gains made by the 2010 constitution.

Kimunya was speaking at the people dialogue festival event on September 15. He criticised the suggestion that the President will appoint the cabinet from parliament, saying it will be risky.

For the amendments to go through, they need the nod of at least 233 MPs as per Article 255 of the Constitution. Yet another challenge that the bill will face is the August 20 landmark Court of Appeal Judgement, which warned against tinkering with the Constitution’s basic structure.

Multiple constitutional law experts are of the view that creating the post of a PM whose work cuts across the two arms of government is a violation of the spirit of the Constitution.

This, they argue, interferes with the principles of checks and balances and also the separation of powers. 

“When you have the head of the Executive residing in Parliament, you will have messed with the principle of separation of powers, plus the move blocks checks and balances,” former CIOC chair Abdikadir Mohamed said.

Kioni said the move to introduce the split the office of the Deputy President will take time until 2027, while the other amendments shall be implemented immediately.

“Introducing another DP also means you have to change the Constitution and prescribe the process of electing the other DP, which need a referendum,” Senator Mutula  Kilonzo for Machakos said while dismissing the move.

Senate ad hoc committee chairperson Mutula Kilonzo Jr (centre) leads proceedings into the Solai dam tragedy, at Parliament on July 17, 2018.

Senate ad hoc committee chairperson Mutula Kilonzo Jr (Centre) leads proceedings into the Solai dam tragedy, at Parliament on July 17, 2018.

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