By Samuel Ouma
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, on Wednesday, June 3, 2020, issued an Executive Order NO.1 of 2020 which outlined some changes in the organisation of the government.
The new order saw the Office of the Deputy President put under the office of the President and according to lawyer Donald Kipkorir, the new order has stripped the Deputy President William Ruto powers to hire or dismiss staff or have a budget related functions. He argued that Ruto will now serve alongside the Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua; however, he remains the second in command.
“In new Executive Order, President Uhuru Kenyatta changes his office from “Presidency” to “President” .. This innocent looking nomenclature change has huge legal implications … President denotes singularity of power in rem … Presidency is shared power … Offices of Deputy,” Posted lawyer Kipkorir on his Twitter handle.
Lawyers Ahmednassir Abdudallh and Mutula Kilonzo said the changes are constitutional noting that the order has been misinterpreted. The duo said the term “Presidency” is wrongly used to show that the Offices of the President and Deputy President are working as a unit.
“The term presidency was used very loosely because it is not a term that is known in law. It was political because there is nothing called the Presidency. It creates the impression as if the presidency is something that someone is holding with another person. You can only have one president. I think this is why the clashes in Jubilee government have happened because of the misconstruction of the word presidency,” said Senator Mutula Kilonzo.
“The leading legal commentary on the executive order issued today by H.E Uhuru is advanced on Twitter by laymen with zero legal education. The constitution talks of The President. The Deputy President…etc. The “presidency” is a “constitutional heresy,” Ahmednassir posted on his Twitter page.
The new order also put the newly-formed Nairobi Metropolitan Service under the office of the President.
“IN EXERCISE of the powers conferred by Article 132 (3) (b) of the Constitution, as read with all other enabling Laws, I, UHURU KENYATTA, President and Commander-in-Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces, order and direct: “THAT the Government shall be organized as set out in this Order; (ii) THAT this Order contains portfolio responsibilities and changes made in the structure of Government; (iii) THAT this Order assigns functions and institutions among Ministries and State Departments; and (iv) THAT this Order supersedes Executive Order No. 1 of 2018 (Revised) issued in July 2018,” the order reads.
These changes come in the wake of purge in Jubilee Party which has shown Ruto’s allies kicked out of leadership positions both in the National Assembly and the Senate.