Prime Minister position

Jubilee in new bid to create powerful PM

A radical Bill that would drastically diminish the powers of the President and create an executive Prime Minister is headed to Parliament.

In what is likely to alter the country’s governance structure, the draft Bill sponsored by a Jubilee-affiliated MP wants the President to be a ceremonial Head of State and a symbol of national unity.

The Bill seeks to amend the Constitution to provide for a powerful Prime Minister who will be the head of government, assisted by two deputies.

The Bill by Tiaty MP Kamket Kassait (Kanu) is said to have the support of a senior member of Jubilee Party. It seeks to abolish the Executive Office of the Deputy President that is currently held by William Ruto and create a PM who will be an elected MP and Leader of Government Business.

It proposes to give the PM full authority over the Executive arm of government, including the power to hire and fire Cabinet Secretaries and ambassadors. The holder will be a member of the National Security Council, although the President will remain the Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces.

If approved, it will effectively revert Kenya to a Parliamentary system of government that then ODM chief Raila Odinga advocated but aborted at the eleventh hour in the protracted negotiations with the PNU wing that gave birth to the current Constitution in 2010.

“As a consequence of the proposed amendment, the President shall retain ceremonial powers as Head of State without any need for the position of Deputy President,” the Bill states in part.

The Bill proposes a fixed single term of seven years for the President and Cabinet Secretaries to be selected from members of Parliament.

The President would be elected in a joint sitting of Parliament convened on the first Thursday of December every seventh year. However, a candidate for election as President must be 50 years and above and should not hold any position in a political party.

“The new Article 138 requires a person to garner the votes of at least two-thirds of all members of Parliament in the first round of voting to stand elected as President. In the event that the first threshold is not met, a candidate may stand elected in the second round of voting if he or she garners the votes of a majority of all the members of Parliament,” the Bill states.

The PM, under the proposed law, will have powers to hire and fire his two deputies, apart from Cabinet Secretaries, the Attorney General, Principal Secretaries and ambassadors.

In what could sweeten the deal for the Opposition, the Bill proposes to reintroduce the Office of the Official Leader of the Opposition, who shall rank fourth in the protocol pecking order after the President, the Prime Minister and the Speaker of the National Assembly.

In far-reaching amendments, the Bill seeks to scrap the position of woman representatives and reduce the number of MPs in the National Assembly from 349 to 302.

But in a bid to preserve the two-thirds gender rule, the Bill proposes that Senators be elected by each of the 47 county assemblies, with each producing a man and a woman.

“The Senate is to comprise 94 members being one man and one woman elected by members of each county assembly, six members nominated to represent the youth and persons with disabilities and the speaker as an ex officio member,” the Bill states.

The Bill, which is set to be sent to the Government Printer’s, seeks to change the election date from August to the second Tuesday of December every fifth year.

Reliable sources say that powerful Jubilee forces are silently pushing for a parliamentary system of government, especially after the protracted electoral contest that pushed the country to the brink.

However, yesterday Kamket told the Star he is his own man.

“This is a Private Member’s Bill and I have brought it as Tiaty MP. I have talked to a number of my colleagues for support. I expect a lot of support from my colleagues in the coalition because the Bill is for the posterity of this country,” said the former Speaker of the Country Assembly of Baringo.

“The Bill seeks to give Parliament more powers and I don’t think there is any Member who will oppose,” he added.

According to Kamket, his proposal will end the secession talk and protests about marginalization.

“I want the parliamentary system back because the presidential system is too restrictive and does not open the democratic space. We want the Executive to be held directly accountable because now it is far removed from Parliament and MPs are speaking to themselves. I want ministers to come from Parliament because, currently, we have foreigners as Cabinet Secretaries,” he said.

Raila and his influential thinkers in ODM have in the past preferred the parliamentary system as the panacea for Kenya’s choking tribalism and regionalism.

“We need parliamentary democracy where the party with a majority of MPs forms the government. It is the only way through which a person from a small community like the Maasai or Samburu can ascend to power. It is a system which has worked very well in mature democracies all over the world,” Raila said in 2013.

The new Bill will however require to be subjected to a constitutional referendum. Article 255 of the Constitution makes it mandatory for any amendment relating to the term of office of the President, the functions of Parliament as well as the structure of devolved government to be subjected to a popular vote.

The Bill becomes the third initiative aimed at amending the Constitution. The Ekuru Aukot-led Thirdway Alliance has already commenced plans to amend the Constitution and reduce the number of elected Members to 100 by abolishing the current constituencies. Like the Kamket Bill, it also seeks to use the current counties as the electoral areas to vote for Senators and Members of the National Assembly. Unlike the Kamket Bill, the Thirdway Alliance however prefers direct universal suffrage.

Last week, Jubilee Majority leader Aden Duale published a Bill to amend the Constitution to provide for top-up of MPs to comply with the two-thirds gender rule.

what?? echos of change the constitution again four decades later?. Any other source reporting this apart from the star?

Heard the same kwa News za saa moja kwa radio.

was on tv jana usiku.

Draft bill: President to serve one term, PM to head government - The Standard

-kanu is not Jubilee! ask @jaymoh
-no matter how they massage this thing, rwnebp!
-any bill that alters the constitution must be subjected to a refurendum, good-luck with that.

Let them organize a referendum on this. But the issue of affirmative action on elected posts defeats democratic ideals. Even first world countries do not have such.

Deeply conservative and patriarchal societies such as Pakistan have had powerful female PMs without such affirmative action

Can a referendum have three choices? Two new adoptions with the third option being NO to both?

Gideon Moi is working too hard.

lets wait and see

and create a PM who will be an elected MP and Leader of Government Business.

Ken Okoth inje mwenye hiyo will be coming for it come 2022.

in as much as RWNBP, Nyanza will never vote hizi upusi tena

That is a good idea but the electoral manipulation genie is out of the bag and so without a meaningful electoral reform process it will be just another white elephant project.

what reforms do you desire? what’s wrong with current system?

What’s wrong?
Where were you in 2017.

papa hapa