The legal arena is turning the heat onto President Uhuru Kenyatta over an executive order seeking to add more power under his ministries and state departments while conflicting independent commissions and authorities’ roles.
The matter in contention is the move to have constitutional commissions and independent authorities under the executive arm of government. The President issued the directive through Executive Order No.1/2018 that rescinds distinctive orders issued on the matter in a similar order in May 2016.
The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) has told dailies that they are set to challenge the legality of the matter arguing that the directive can not override that which is provided for by the constitution.
“One of the things the order does is to bring certain independent institutions such as the Judicial Service Commission under the Office of the Attorney General. These are independent Institutions that no one else can oversight,” says LSK President Allen Gichuhi.
He adds that, “the Executive Order can not override constitutional tenets. I do not know why that was done but we are going to court over the issue. We are working on that and within the next few days we should be going to challenge it.”
Prof Tom Ojienda, a member of the Judicial Service Commission, told The Sunday Nation that the orders were not only an anomaly, but stand insensitive and a violation of the constitution.
If affected, the orders shall strike off powers accorded to Chief Justice David Maraga as the chair of the Judicial Service Commission. It implies that once JSC is put under the office of the Attorney General, all its members’ roles will be under the oversight of the AG, who currently is only a member of the Chief Justice led commission.
Other commissions to be affected by the directive include the reconstituting Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) that the order puts under the ministry of Finance. The CS Henry Rotich will also supposedly head the Commission for Revenue Allocation, the office of the Controller of Budget and that of the Auditor General.
The Independent Police Oversight Authority (IPOA) and the National Police Service Commission (NPSC) shall be run by Dr Matiangi’s Interior Ministry in the event the court does not revoke the orders.
Most of the entities targeted by the orders are mandated to play the watchdog role and perform checks on the executive. With a silenced opposition, the move by the head of state to have the bodies under the executive he commands has caused a restless legal field, who hope the court intervenes to halt the oders from taking charge.