Prime Minister, Leader of Official Opposition - how the 2 will fit in parliament [BBI Explainer]

BBI breakdown with Pulse Live

BBI graphic provided by the BBI Secretariat (Twitter)

The Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Act, 2020, popularly known as the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) Bill has been the subject of political discussions in the country since 2018.

The document born out of the handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga has undergone various edits and is now at advanced stages toward a referendum.

A recent informal survey conducted by the Pulse Live production team revealed that though temperatures are rising over the document, most Kenyans have not read the document for themselves.

Pulse Live has been dissecting the document in a series of articles which begun with the proposed amendment on Chapter 3 (Citizenship) and later tackled the gains for women in the First Amendment.

BBI on the Prime Minister

BBI has created the office of the Prime Minister under the Executive arm of the government of Kenya.

The PM will be appointed by and report directly to the President and will have two deputies appointed from among Cabinet Ministers.

Unlike the past PMs Kenyan has had, the PM under BBI, will be charged with the primary mandate of leading government business in the National Assembly.

To qualify for the PM position, one will have to;

  • Be an elected member of the National Assembly who is the leader in the National Assembly of the largest party or coalition of parties
  • Receive more than half the votes in the National Assembly to confirm their appointment

BBI on the Leader of Official Opposition

The First Amendment seeks to create a position higher than that of Majority and Minority Leaders in the National Assembly - Leader of Official Opposition.

The Leader of Official Opposition shall be the person—

  • who received the second greatest number of votes in a presidential election; and
  • whose political party or coalition of parties has at least twenty-five percent of all the members of the National Assembly

"A person shall not assume the office of the Leader of the Official Opposition if the Prime Minister is appointed from the person’s political party or coalition of parties," BBI further proposes.

The hierarchy in the National Assembly will, therefore, be the Speaker, followed by the Prime Minister and finally the Leader of Official Opposition.

The National Assembly will also have the Attorney General included as an ex-officio member, together with the Cabinet Ministers, who are not elected members of the National Assembly, who are ex officio members.

The Senate will remain largely unaffected by the creation of the PM and LO positions.

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