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Moses Kuria's plan to expand Cabinet through amendment

Sunday March 31 2019

Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria addressing

Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria addressing journalists at Parliament buildings in Nairobi on January 10, 2019. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

WANJOHI GITHAE
By WANJOHI GITHAE
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Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria has written to the Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi seeking permission to draft a constitutional amendment bill that will see the introduction of a prime minister through expansion of the Cabinet.

In a letter dated March 29, 2019, Mr Kuria also seeks to alter the composition of the county executive, county assemblies and the Senate.

“These changes do not require a referendum because they affect the composition not structure of Parliament and Executive. They give guidance on how a President elected through popular will delegates responsibilities within his Cabinet. They create an opposition that is loyal to the state not to a President. They are clearly distinct from an Executive Prime Minister as leader of government which would clearly have required a referendum as it is changing the structure of Executive and legislature,” said Mr Kuria.

The changes are part of broader proposals Mr Kuria has presented to the Building Bridges initiative.

Lawyer Lempaaa Suyinka of Katiba Institute said though the Constitution puts a cap of Cabinet Secretaries to 22, it can be amended by Parliament to have it expanded.

“You do not need a referendum to expand the Cabinet. Parliament is empowered by the Constitution to make changes to acquire the desired size,” Mr Suyinka said.

If accepted the bill will require a two-thirds majority in both Houses to pass.

'NEW STRUCTURE'

If the speaker agrees to the proposal, Mr Kuria will draft a bill that will see the Cabinet comprise the President, the deputy president, a prime minister, two deputy prime ministers, not more than 26 ministers and not more than 26 assistant ministers

“That a presidential candidate vie on a joint ticket with his or her choice of deputy president, prime minister and two deputy prime ministers, with all five having different ethnic backgrounds; the joint-candidates for prime minister and deputy prime minister should vie for election as members of the National Assembly. In the event a person is elected President but his or her choice of prime minster or deputy prime minister is not elected to Parliament, the prime minister or deputy prime minster shall automatically be nominated as a member of the National Assembly,” reads the letter.

He proposes that the powers of a prime minister shall include authority to co-ordinate and supervise the execution of the functions and affairs of the government, including those of ministries.