Katiba Baraza: This is how the government will work


I was tickled last week when someone said that the proposed constitution has too many centres of power.
That is not true, this draft truly divides and checks the excesses.

Kenya will have an executive president with less powers, and no prime minister.Yes, there, I said it; this draft will not have a PM! The Cabinet will not be appointed from Parliament and there will be two levels of government: the national government and devolved governments with 47 counties.

Parliament, as you may recall from those GHC lessons, will have two chambers: the National Assembly with MPs and the Senate to be made up of representatives from the counties.The Senate will have powers to impeach the President as well as to pass laws.

Once the new constitution comes into force, no Bill can become law unless the two Houses pass it. So we can all rest easy, anything we want changed or tweaked can still be done.

Kenyans will go for a single election to pick their president and their representatives at the county and national assemblies on the second Tuesday of August of the election year. If passed the first election will be conducted on August 13, 2012 A president will be elected by all voters and will need 50 per cent plus one of all votes cast and at least 25 per cent of the votes in half of the counties.

The new Cabinet will have 14 to 22 secretaries (that’s the new name for ministers), assisted by principal secretaries.The position of assistant minister will be scrapped. Currently, there are 40 ministers and 54 assistant ministers.This means we shall actually be saving some cash here.

The president will no longer be able to pick top officials at will. All senior appointments must be approved by Parliament. However, in the Judiciary, only the Chief Justice and his or her deputy will require Parliament’s approval.

The Judicial Service Commission will nominate candidates to serve as judges, who will be appointed by the president, with MPs playing no role.The new law, however, gives the president exclusive authority to dismiss public officers without seeking the approval of Parliament. But in the case of the Judiciary, the dismissal will have to come from a tribunal.

The president, his deputy, county governors and their deputies can be impeached. On impeachment of the president, the National Assembly will introduce the motion but investigations and approval of the impeachment will lie with the Senate.

The Senate will be composed of 47 members each elected from the counties, 16 women nominated by political parties, two members of different gender to represent the youth and two members of different gender to represent persons with disability.This is where I expect buzzers to ululate.The proposed constitution creates an extra 80 constituencies bringing the number of elected MPs to 290.There will also be 12 nominated MPs and 47 women elected from the counties, bringing the total number of MPs to 349.

The Judiciary is excluded from the impeachment process since the process is a political trial and the judiciary may be required as an avenue of appeal.

Matters of national revenue taxation will be handled by the Controller of Budget, Auditor-General, Salaries and Remuneration Commission and the Central Bank of Kenya.The Administration and regular police will fall under one command ­ the Inspector-General.This head of the force will have two deputies, each in charge of one of the units.

In all, the proposed katiba makes the gova more efficient, or what do you think?
Send your questions and suggestions to: omathenge@ke.nationmedia.com

PS: This article first appeared in the Buzz Magazine inside the Sunday Nation on June 27, 2010. Check out the next article coming Sunday and remember to send your questions and suggestions to the address above.

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