Kenya's president set to be permanently stripped of his appointment powers

Unlike before where the aides ‘bromance’ with the head of state sometimes was the only qualification needed, aides will now have to meet tough conditions.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto will lose the powers to hire special advisers if a new set of regulations is adopted.

Hiring of special advisers will instead be done by the Public Service Commission (PSC), which will also set their salaries and perks.

“The commission may consider appointment of advisers for the executive office of the President,” the PSC chairperson Margaret Kobia says in the proposed regulations, which are currently the subject of public debate.

The president and his deputy have had a free hand in picking their special advisers who draw salaries from public coffers.

Some of the hefty perks the advisers enjoy include government vehicles, drivers and bodyguards.

“Subject to these regulations, the executive office of the President shall be entitled to such number of advisers as shall be necessary for carrying out the functions of office and as approved by the commission.”

Already President Kenyatta is 'weak' president after the Supreme Court nullified his presidential win on 1st September in a case filed by the opposition after finding out the electoral body, IEBC did not adhere to the constitution while transmitting results.

As a result of the ruling while Mr. Kenyatta enjoys temporary incumbency he cannot nominate or appoint judges or any other public officer, who the law requires him to until fresh elections scheduled for October 17th have been concluded and the winner declared.

He can also neither nominate, appoint nor dismiss Cabinet Secretaries and other State or Public officers during this period.

Unlike before where the aides ‘bromance’ with the head of state sometimes was the only qualification needed, aides will now have to meet tough conditions set by the commission such as having skills and qualifications for the job, free from graft and unethical behaviour and will not direct or supervise other public servants.

The advisers will only be tapped from outside the civil service if there is no public servant with the skills required unlike currently where Mr. Kenyatta and former presidents have preferred to tap outsiders for the position.

According to the Office of the President website, Mr. Ruto has tapped Prof Hiroyuki Hino as his economic adviser and Dr. Korir Sing’oei as his legal advisor.

Abdikadir Mohamed serves as Mr. Kenyatta’s senior adviser on constitutional and legal affairs.

The two top executives had 20 special advisers by end of 2014, some 18 months in power, working full time.

They include political, agriculture and food security, regional integration, legal affairs and education advisers.

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