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Absence of secretary to Cabinet might affect transition of power

By Brian Otieno | May 13th 2022 | 3 min read
Deputy President-elect William Ruto, Chief Justice Willy Mutunga, President Mwai Kibaki, President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta, his wife Margaret Kenyatta and Rachel Ruto during Kenyatta’s inauguration at Kasarani Stadium on April 9, 2013. [File, Standard]

The transition of power could be in jeopardy, owing to the absence of a Secretary to the Cabinet.

Garissa Township MP Aden Duale yesterday raised the concern in Parliament, even as he called for amendment of a critical law that guides the transition of power. According to the Assumption of the Office of the President Act No.21 of 2012, the Secretary to the Cabinet shall chair the Assumption to the Office of the President Committee.

The committee facilitates handing over ceremony of the outgoing president to the president-elect, the provision of the security detail and also facilitates issuance of security briefings to the president-elect. Since the exit of Nyandarua Governor Francis Kimemia in 2013, the Cabinet has been without a Secretary, which could have implications on composition of the said committee. In the previous dispensation, the Head of Public Service held the position, a situation that changed with the 2010 Constitution. Article 154 of the Constitution states that the president, with the approval of Parliament, shall appoint a Secretary to the Cabinet.

“Since this House rejected Monica Juma when her name was presented for the Secretary to the Cabinet, no other name has been brought. Within the reading of Article 154 of the Constitution, this is a violation and impunity,” Mr Duale said, pointing out that Parliament would adjourn without a return date in a month’s time.

“Honourable Speaker, it is on account that I seek a Statement from the Chairperson of the Departmental Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs. In the Statement, the Chairperson should explain the steps being taken to ensure that the leadership of the Committee on the Assumption of the President is put in place on time,” he added. 

The MP also said Parliament should amend the Act to allow for any other member of the committee to chair it in the absence of a Secretary to the Cabinet. The 20-member committee comprises the Interior CS, Principal Secretaries from various ministries, the Chief of Kenya Defence Forces and the IG among other members. At the same time, MPs allied to Deputy President William Ruto and ODM leader Raila Odinga clashed over the security of presidential hopefuls.

Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wa kicked up a storm with claims that the high number of independent presidential aspirants was a risk that could lead to postponement of the August 9 presidential election. Mr Ichung’wa said Parliament should engage the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to establish the security arrangements of 46 independent presidential aspirants. 

“If any of them loses his life, we will see postponement of the election,” the Kikuyu MP said.

“We are at risk... we have a desperate regime that has no intention of leaving power,” he claimed.

His statements did not go unchallenged, with Pokot South MP David Pkosing arguing that the Kenya Kwanza Alliance harboured ulterior motives.

“There is this thing raised by Ichung’wa casting aspersions on the security and the lives of the 47 candidates. What do they know about the 46?” Pkosing posed.

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