President Kenyatta acted within the law to appoint his Deputy William Ruto to act on his behalf in his absence, Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution chairman Charles Nyachae said on Monday.
“Article 147 of the Constitution allows the President to appoint his deputy to act on his behalf and so what he has done is perfectly within the law,” Mr Nyachae told the Nation.
However, the Law Society of Kenya described the move as a public relations exercise.
“The appointment of DP as Head of State is just a PR exercise. The Constitution provides the circumstances under which DP must act as President and this is not one of those circumstances,” LSK chairman Eric Mutua said.
Mr Mutua said in the acting capacity, the DP could not discharge some duties, among them those of Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
But Mr Nyachae said the issue of the acting President being unable to exercise the powers of a Commander-in-Chief should not arise.
“The President has not resigned. He can wake up tomorrow and terminate the appointment,” Mr Nyachae said.
But he concurred with Mr Mutua that there are some constitutional powers that Mr Ruto cannot exercise like appointing a Cabinet Secretary or an ambassador.
Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (Supkem) secretary-general Adan Wachu said: “It is good that the President has complied with the law and we are particularly happy with what he did to inform all the people in the country of the decision he had made.”
CORD SCOFFS AT DECISION
MPs and senators said President Kenyatta made the best decision in appointing Mr Ruto as the acting Head of State in his absence.
“He is going there in his own personal capacity and our sovereignty will not be affected in anyway,” Meru Senator Kiraitu Murungi said.
Rongo MP Dalmas Otieno supported the President’s decision to address the nation before flying to the Hague.
But Cord scoffed at the President’s action, terming it unconstitutional.
Deputy Minority Leader in the National Assembly Jakoyo Midiwo said there was no provision in law that allows a sitting President to appoint another person as acting President.
“Uhuru is just playing cheap politics. Who was the acting President when Uhuru was in the US, or when he was in the UK?” he posed.
Siaya Senator James Orengo, who did not attend the House session, said the handing over during the House address was not necessary.
“The Constitution is clear on the Separation of powers. Parliament and Executive are distinct.
“When there are joint sittings, the President should state clearly the reason for it. It was totally unnecessary.
“If it was for purposes of handing over the presidency to the Deputy President, the Constitution is very clear. It is self-executing,” Mr Orengo said.