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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

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Proposal to change presidential election system

Kibwezi MP Mwengi Mutuse proposes changes in Kenya’s governance system especially at the presidential election level.

Mwengi Mutuse, a member of parliament for Kibwezi West has written to the National Dialogue Committee (NADOC) proposing changes to the governance structure, particularly with relation to the Kenyan President election. 

In his recommendations to NADOC, Mutuse stated his opinion that the Office of the Leader of the Opposition should not be established under a presidential system of government because he thought such an office already exists, obviating the need for constitutional revisions.

“To address concerns of inclusion of the Opposition, I propose allowing presidential candidates to also run for membership in the National Assembly,” Mutuse recommended.

According to his claim, the phrase Official Opposition was changed to Minority Party in the 2010 Kenyan Constitution, and the Leader of Government Business was changed to the Leader of the Majority Party.

If NADOC accepts and Parliament ratifies Mutuse’s proposals, presidential candidates would once again vie for the top seat as Members of Parliament, reviving a practice that was discontinued after the 2007 general election.

The restoration to this practice is not foreclosed by the current constitution, Mutuse wrote in a letter to the dialogue committee.

“Article 99 on Qualifications and disqualifications for election as MP and Article 137 on qualifications and disqualifications for election as President do not impose such limitations,” the first-term MP stated.

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The Maendeleo Chap Chap elected MP added that the Elections Act also does not restrict the country from charting this path.

According to Mutuse, the existing limitations barring a President from running as an MP stemmed from an overly cautious interpretation of the Constitution.

In his proposal to NADOC, Mutuse emphasized the need of embracing his ideas in order to foster inclusivity and guarantee that popular presidential candidates who do not win the popular vote are not left out in the cold.

The political party or alliance with the most parliamentary representation currently chooses the Leader of the Majority. 

But given the current legal framework, it is possible for a candidate to triumph in the presidential race even if their party does not win a majority in Parliament.

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