EXPLAINER: How to impeach the Deputy President in Kenya

By Fay Ngina | Friday, Mar 13th 2020 at 11:25
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 The process of impeaching a deputy president is not an easy one. The Constitution of Kenya gives the Senate and the National Assembly the power to remove the deputy president from the office. 

Over the past few weeks, Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) MPs and some Senators have demanded that deputy president William Ruto should resign over alleged gross misconduct. 

Almost 40 legislators want the DP removed from office for allegedly disrespecting President Uhuru Kenyatta. These leaders, led by Siaya Senator James Orengo, say they will go the constitutional way of impeaching the deputy president. 

But, what does it take to impeach the deputy president in Kenya? 

According to the Constitution, the Deputy president can be impeached if a motion by a member of the national assembly is supported by a third of all the members on the grounds of; 

(a) physical or mental incapacity to perform the functions of the office, or

(b) on impeachment;

(i) on the ground of a gross violation of a provision of this Constitution or any other law;

(ii) where there are serious reasons to believe that he has committed a crime under national or international law

(iii) for gross misconduct.

This means that out of the 349 MPs, 117 should sign the motion to remove the deputy president from office.

If two-thirds of the members of the National Assembly (233MPs) support the motion, then; The Speaker shall inform the Speaker of the Senate of that resolution within two days; and The Deputy President shall continue to perform the functions of the office, pending the outcome of the proceedings required by the law.

While all this is happening, the deputy president is expected to continue performing his duties, pending the outcomes of the motion.

Within seven days after receiving the motion to impeach the DP, the Speaker of the national assembly shall; Convene a meeting of the Senate to hear charges against the Deputy President; and The Senate, by resolution, may appoint a special committee comprising eleven of its members to investigate the matter.

The special committee, which involves 11 members of the Senate, will conduct a trial against the DP and report to the House within seven days.

Article 145 (4) of the Constitution says,” “The special committee shall investigate the matter and report to the Senate within 10 days whether it finds the particulars of the allegations against the deputy president to have been substantiated.”

At this point, the deputy president shall have the right to appear before the Senate during the investigations and defend himself.

The Constitution states that “If the special committee reports that the particulars of any allegation against the deputy president have been substantiated, the Senate shall, after according the deputy president an opportunity to be heard, vote on the impeachment charges.”

For the impeachment to be successful, at least two-thirds of all the members of the Senate, that is, 47 out of 67 senators, will have to vote to uphold any impeachment charge. Once this happens, the deputy president shall cease to hold office.

If the committee finds that the allegations are unsubstantiated, the impeachment ceases, and the deputy president continues to hold office.

If someone else assumes the office of the DP, the person shall be deemed “to have served a full term as Deputy President if, at the date on which the person assumed office, more than two and a half years remain before the date of the next regularly scheduled election.”

The Constitution also stipulates that the same procedure used to impeach the deputy president also applies to the removal of the President with the necessary modifications applying the provisions of Articles 144 and 145.

 

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