Confusion over PM and Prime CS in new report

National Dialogue committee co-chairs Kalonzo Musyoka and  Kimani Ichungwah after signing the Bipartisan talk agreement. Dennis Kavisu, Standard]

Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition wants the country to go to a referendum and amend the Constitution to adopt a hybrid parliamentary system that will have a prime minister who is a member of the National Assembly.

The creation of the prime minister’s position is among the contentious issues that were captured in the Report of the National Dialogue Committee (NADCO) released on Saturday. The committee led by National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Inchungwah and Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka was created in June following a spate of demonstrations by the opposition on a number of issues.

“The Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition recommends that, in a time to be determined, a referendum be held to amend the Constitution with a view to adopting a hybrid/parliamentary system that includes the establishment of the Office of Prime Minister in the National Assembly,” said the report.

Notably, the committee recommended the creation of the office of the Prime Cabinet Secretary; however, they immediately went ahead to call it the office of the Prime Minister.

“The Prime Minister shall be nominated and, with the approval of the National Assembly, appointed by the President. (b) The Prime Minister shall — (i) assist the President and the Deputy President in the coordination, supervision, implementation, and supervision of the national government Report of the National Dialogue Committee (NADCO)- November 2023 261 policies, programmes, and projects across all government ministries and state departments,” read part of the recommendation.

It is not clear if Kenya Kwanza and Azimio were reading from the same script in the proposed change of name for Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi’s office to be called the PM office.

In its recommendations on the office of the opposition leader, it will require Raila, Azimio deputy leader Martha Karua, and the Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka to convince some of their legislators to step down for them to be actual beneficiaries.

The committee recommended the creation of the office of the official opposition leader and two deputy leaders of the largest party/coalition of political parties which garnered the second largest number of votes at the preceding presidential election but restricted them to be members of the National Assembly.

“The Constitution be amended pursuant to Article 255 of the Constitution to establish the office of the leader of the Official Opposition who shall be elected by members of the National Assembly from the largest parliamentary party with the highest number of seats in the Assembly not forming the national government,” recommended the report.

Electoral process

On the audit of the August 9, 2022, election that declared the victory of President William Ruto, the committee recommended that the majority and minority coalitions shall appoint a panel to evaluate the 2022 electoral process.

The panel will consist of six experts from both Kenya Kwanza and Azimio coalitions and will jointly appoint a reputable firm or a consortium of firms to undertake the evaluation of the 2022 election.

On the Electoral Legal Reforms, the committee recommended that the electoral laws should be enacted at least 18 months before a general election and asked Parliament to amend the Elections Act, 2011, and the Independent Election and Boundaries Commission Act 2011 to repeal the various provisions of the Acts that were declared unconstitutional by the court.

The committee also recommended that NGCDF, NGAAF, and Senate Oversight Funds be entrenched in the Constitution.

As a reprieve to the Members of the County Assembly, the committee also recommended that the Ward Development Fund be established by statute in accordance with Article 207(4) (b) of the Constitution.