Functions of the Prime Minister as proposed in the BBI Report

By Brian Okoth On Wed, 21 Oct, 2020 13:07 | 3 mins read
Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga. [PHOTO | FILE]
Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga. [PHOTO | FILE]
Editor's Review
    The report states that under Article 151 of the reviewed Constitution, the Office of the Prime Minister shall exist.

The Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) taskforce has recommended a Constitutional amendment that would see reintroduction of the Office of the Prime Minister. The change in structure of Government would require a referendum to endorse the proposals.

The report states that under Article 151 of the reviewed Constitution, the Office of the Prime Minister shall exist.

The premier will be appointed by the President, if the proposal is adopted.

Under the new Supreme Law, the PM would have the following functions:

  • Be the leader of government business in the National

Assembly;

  • Oversee the legislative agenda in the National Assembly

on behalf of government;

  • Supervise the execution of the functions of ministries

and government departments;

  • Chair cabinet committee meetings as assigned by the

President;

  • Assign any of the functions of the Office to the Deputy

Prime Ministers; and

  • Perform any other duty assigned by the President or

conferred by legislation.

The President is required by the proposed Law to appoint a Prime Minister within seven days after the Head of State assumes office. The Law also states that should a vacancy occur in the Office of the Prime Minister, the Head of State should fill that vacancy within seven days after the seat falls vacant.

“A person is eligible to be nominated as the Prime Minister if the person is a member of the National Assembly who is the leader of the majority party or coalition of parties in the National Assembly,” says the proposed Law.

“Within seven days of the Speaker receiving a nomination from the President, the Speaker shall call a vote in the National Assembly to confirm the appointment of the person proposed by the

President.

“A vote under clause (3) passes if it is supported by more than half of all the members of the National Assembly. Where the National Assembly fails to confirm the appointment of a person nominated by the President, the largest party or coalition of parties shall within seven days of rejection of a nominee, designate another member to be the party leader in the National Assembly and clauses (1), (2) and (3) shall apply.”

“If the National Assembly fails to confirm the appointment of the person proposed under clause (5), the President shall appoint a member who, in the President’s opinion, is able to command the

confidence of the National Assembly.”

A vacancy in the Office of the Prime Minister arises under the following circumstances:

(a) Is dismissed by the President;

(b) Ceases to be a member of the National Assembly in accordance with Article 103;

(c) Resigns from office in writing addressed to the President;

or

(d) Is impeached from office in accordance with this Article.

The proposed Law states that the process of impeaching the premier begins when “a member of the National Assembly, supported by at least one-quarter of all members proposed a motion of no confidence in the Prime Minister.”

“If the National Assembly, by a resolution supported by more than half of all members pass the motion of no confidence in the Prime Minister, the Prime Minister ceases to hold office,” says the proposed Law.

The premier will be deputised by two Deputy Prime Ministers appointed by the President, per the proposed Law. The Deputy PMs will be picked from Cabinet ministers.

The functions of the Deputy PM include:

(a) deputising for the Prime Minister in the execution of the

Prime Minister’s functions; and

(b) performing any other function the Prime Minister may

assign.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister becomes vacant if the person: is dismissed by the President, ceases to be a member of Parliament under Article 103, ceases to be a Cabinet Minister or resigns in writing addressed to the President.

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