The Bill tabled by the Parliamentary Constitution, Implementation and Oversight Committee (CIOC) is pushing to have the Head of State vested with powers to send home the Deputy President at will. The new proposal has been introduced under the Constitutional Amendment Bill 2021 in the National Assembly to change the constitution.
For the President to go ahead and send his Deputy packing according to the proposal, one-third of all members of the National Assembly and Senate have to support the motion. This moves away from the normal threshold of two-thirds required to approve such a decision.
“Article 150(1) is amended by inserting a new paragraph that gives the president powers to sack with at least one-third of all the members of the National Assembly and at least one-third of all members of the senate,” the Bill reads in part.
The powers to sack a deputy were scrapped after the promulgation of the 2010 constitution. Before that, the President had all the powers at his disposal to dismiss any deviant second in command. This explains why the late former President Daniel Arap Moi had several vice presidents.
Apart from giving the head of state powers to dismiss the deputy, the bill also introduces a new set of positions. It seeks to introduce two deputy presidents, a prime minister, and two deputy prime minister positions.
According to the proposed amendment, each candidate in a presidential election shall nominate two persons who are qualified for nomination for election as president, as a candidate for the first deputy president and the other as a candidate for second deputy president.
The Bill partially borrows a leaf from the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) which also sought to create the position of the prime minister and two deputies. BBI was however rocked with legal battles that stalled all push for constitutional reforms.
The tabling of the Bill is set to ignite wrangles between allies of President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto who have been at crossroads. The two top leaders have openly displayed their differences with key allies of President Uhuru even threatening to table an impeachment motion.
Ruto’s side, on the other hand, has always maintained a hard stance daring the president’s allies to move ahead and introduce an impeachment motion. This move, according to the constitution, would require at least two-thirds approval.
Other than the issue of impeachment, Ruto has been opposed to the idea of introducing new positions of power. He was bold in his stance against BBI.