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Director-General of National Intelligence Service in Kenya

The qualifications, powers and functions of the Director-General of the National Intelligence Service in Kenya are stipulated in the National Intelligence Service Act. Section 7 of the Act provides for the position of the Director-General of the National Intelligence Service.

The President appoints the Director-General with the approval of the National Assembly.

The President should nominate a person for appointment as the Director-General and submit the name of the nominee to the National Assembly.

The National Assembly should, within fourteen days after it first meets after receiving the names of the nominee—

  • consider the suitability of the nominee;
  • either approve or reject the nominee for appointment; and
  • the Speaker of the National Assembly should notify the President of the decision of the National Assembly.

If the National Assembly approves the nominee, the President should, within seven days after receiving the notification to that effect, appoint the nominee as the Director-General of the National Intelligence Service (NIS).

If the National Assembly rejects a nominee of the President, the National Assembly should request the President to submit a new nominee. The same procedure of nominating, approving and appointing should apply with necessary modifications with respect to the new nominee.

If, after the expiry of a period of sixty days from the date of the nomination of a person for appointment as a Director-General, the National Assembly has neither approved nor rejected the nomination of the person, the nominee should be deemed to have been approved by the National Assembly.

Qualifications of the Director-General of National Intelligence Service

Section 8 of the National Intelligence Service Act stipulates the qualifications of the Director-General of the National Intelligence Service in Kenya as follows:

  • is a citizen of Kenya;
  • holds a degree from a university recognised in Kenya;
  • has the knowledge and at least fifteen years experience in intelligence or national security;
  • has served in a senior management position in the National Intelligence Service or public service for at least ten years; and
  • meets the requirements of Chapter Six of the Constitution (on leadership and integrity).

A person is not qualified for appointment as Director-General if that person —

  • is a member of Parliament, a member of a county assembly, <a href=/functions-of-county-governor-kenya/”>a county governor</a> or a deputy county governor;
  • has, in the immediate preceding period of five years, served as a member of Parliament, a member of a county assembly, a governor, a deputy governor, a trade union official or held an office in a political party;
  • holds dual citizenship;
  • has been convicted of a criminal offence and has been sentenced to imprisonment for a term exceeding six months without an option of a fine;
  • has previously been removed from office for contravening the provisions of the Constitution or any other written law; or
  • is an undischarged bankrupt.

Functions of the Director-General of National Intelligence Service

Section 9 of the National Intelligence Service Act stipulates the powers and functions of the Director-General of the National Intelligence service, who should—

  • be responsible for the overall, management and administration of the National Intelligence Service;
  • be responsible for the overall operational control of the National Intelligence Service;
  • be the principal advisor to the President and Government on national security based on security intelligence and counterintelligence to enhance national security;
  • report to the President, the National Security Council and the Cabinet Secretary for the time being responsible for matters relating to national intelligence, on threats and potential threats to national security and national interests as is appropriate;
  • take all necessary steps to ensure that the actions of the National Intelligence Service are limited to what is necessary for the proper performance of its functions under the Constitution, the National Intelligence Service Act or any other written law. Moreover, the National Intelligence Service does not gather or disclose any information except in so far as may be necessary for the proper performance of its functions;
  • ensure that the National Intelligence Service is not, in the performance of its functions, influenced by considerations not relevant to such functions and that no act is performed that could give rise to any reasonable suspicion that the National Intelligence Service is concerned in furthering, protecting or undermining the interests of any person, particular section of the population or of any political party or other organisation in Kenya;
  • as far as is reasonably practicable, take steps to ensure that classified information, intelligence collection methods, National Intelligence Service operations, sources of information and identity of members of the National Intelligence Service are protected from disclosure otherwise than in the strict performance of the functions of the National Intelligence Service in Kenya under the Constitution and the National Intelligence Service Act;
  • participate in the formulation of national intelligence policy and strategy;
  • make recommendations to the Cabinet Secretary for the time being responsible for matters relating to national intelligence on the formulation of the policy and implement the national intelligence policy and strategy;
  • ensure effective utilisation of resources as required by Article 201 of the Constitution;
  • undertake education, training and development of members of the National Intelligence Service;
  • oversee the development of mechanisms to ensure that members of the National Intelligence Service discharge their functions and exercise of their powers in accordance with the Constitution, National Intelligence Service Act and any other written the law;
  • administer, control and manage the National Intelligence Service as a disciplined civilian service;
  • put in place mechanisms, steps and systems—
    • to ensure that the members of the National Intelligence Service are not unduly influenced in the performance of the functions of the National Intelligence Service in Kenya;
    • to ensure that the National Intelligence Service is impartial in the execution of its functions;
    • to prevent disclosure of the operations of the National Intelligence Service;
    • to prevent disclosure of classified information;
    • to protect the identity of sources of information to the National Intelligence Service;
    • to protect the identity of members of the National Intelligence Service;
    • to prevent unauthorised access to the premises of the National Intelligence Service; and
    • to prevent interference with any installations of the National Intelligence Service; and
  • perform any other lawful function as the President, the Cabinet Secretary for the time being responsible for matters relating to national intelligence or any other written law may assign.

Powers Of The Director-General Of National Intelligence Service

The Director-General should have all the powers necessary or expedient for the performance of their functions under the Constitution, National Intelligence Service Act or any other written law.

The Director-General may, in writing, delegate any power or assign any function conferred upon them under the National Intelligence Service Act or any other written law to a member of the National Intelligence Service.

The delegation of a power or assignment of a function should not prevent the Director-General from exercising the power or discharging the function in question in person.

Subject to the power of the Director-General to delegate, the Director-General may—

  • impose such conditions as are necessary for the performance of the function or exercise of the power; or
  • withdraw any decision made by the person to whom the power or function had been delegated.

Vacancy in the Office of the Director-General

The office of the Director-General should become vacant if the holder—

  • dies;
  • resigns by notice, in writing, to the President; or
  • is removed by the President.

Where the Director-General resigns from office, he or she should cease to hold office one month after receipt by the President, of the written notice of resignation.

Temporary incapacity

Where the Director-General is unable to perform the functions of the office as a result of temporary incapacity or any other reason, the President should appoint one of the Directors (who head the divisions of the National Intelligence Service) to act in place of the Director-General.

The appointed person should not act in that position for more than six months.

Here, temporary incapacity means any inability to carry out duties under the National Intelligence Service Act or other written law due to an illness or other incapacity lasting continuously for a period of not less than three months.

Directors of the National Intelligence Service

A division of the National Intelligence Service should be headed by a Director appointed by the Director-General in consultation with the National Intelligence Service Council.

A person is qualified for appointment as a Director if the person—

  • is a citizen of Kenya;
  • holds a degree from a university recognised in Kenya;
  • has the knowledge and at least seven years experience in intelligence or national security;
  • has served in a senior management position in the National Intelligence Service or government for at least five years; and
  • meets the requirements of Chapter Six of the Constitution (on leadership and integrity).

A person is not qualified for appointment as a Director if the person—

  • is a member of Parliament, a member of a county assembly, a governor or a deputy governor;
  • has, in the immediate preceding period of five years, served as a member of Parliament, member of a county assembly, a governor or a deputy governor, a trade union official or held office in a political party;
  • holds dual citizenship;
  • has been convicted of a criminal offence and has been sentenced to imprisonment for a term exceeding six months without an option of a fine; or
  • has previously been removed from office for contravening the provisions of the Constitution or any other written law.

In the recruitment of Directors, the Director-General and the National Intelligence Service Council should comply with Article 232 (g), (h) and (i) of the Constitution.

A Director should be the administrative head of a division but should be subject to the direction and control of the Director-General.

For more about the Director-General and the Directors of the National Intelligence Service, see the National Intelligence Service Act.

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Gĩthĩnji is the founder of afrocave.com. He is passionate about politics and governance, public finance management and cycling.@Afrophi