The functions of the Deputy President of Kenya emanate from the Presidency. As the name implies, the Deputy President deputises the President. He or she is an important part of the national executive arm of government.
Before the 2010 Constitution of Kenya, the Deputy President was known as the Vice President. While the President appointed the Vice President, the Deputy President is elected as part of a joint ticket with the President.
The Vice President would usually have a Cabinet Ministry to hold, but the law prohibits the Deputy President from holding any other state or public office.
But what role does the Deputy President (DP) play in government? Or what are the functions of the DP? Article 147 of the Kenyan Constitution states the functions of the Deputy President in Kenya.
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The Deputy President is the principal assistant to the President. He or she shall deputise for the President in performing the presidential functions.
The Deputy President shall perform the functions the Constitution confers upon them. They shall also perform any other functions of the president as the president may assign.
When the President is absent or is temporarily incapacitated, and during any other period that the President decides, the Deputy President shall act as the President. (Article 134)
When the President dies, is removed or impeached, the Deputy President shall take over as the President for the remainder of the term of the president.
Therefore, the deputy president can perform all the functions of the President in Kenya except certain powers such as those related to hiring and firing. The powers the deputy president cannot perform are the:
- nomination or appointment of the judges of the superior courts;
- nomination or appointment of any other public officer whom the Constitution or legislation requires the President to appoint;
- the nomination or appointment or dismissal of Cabinet Secretaries and other State or Public officers;
- nomination or appointment or dismissal of a high commissioner, ambassador, or diplomatic or consular representative;
- power of mercy; and
- the authority to confer honours in the name of the people and the Republic.
The Deputy President chairs the Intergovernmental Budget and Economic Council. The purpose of the Council is to provide a forum for consultation and cooperation between the national government and county governments on diverse issues relating to public finance management.
The Deputy President can also chair the National and County Government Coordinating Summit in the absence of the President. It is the apex body for intergovernmental relations (that is, relations between the national and the county governments).