Role and Functions of the Deputy President

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 stipulates the functions of the Deputy President in Kenya.

The Functions of the Deputy President of Kenya

The Deputy President is the principal assistant to the President. He or she should deputise for the President in performing the presidential functions.

The Deputy President should perform the functions the Constitution confers upon them. They should 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 should act as the President. (Article 134)

When the President dies, is removed or impeached, the Deputy President should 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 (relations between the national and the county governments).

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George Githinji

I love writing content that is insightful and informative. The articles I write have a common #1 goal: Keeping it as simple as possible for users to understand the content.

6 thoughts on “Role and Functions of the Deputy President”

  1. As a citizen, my take would be to completely remove the position of the deputy governor. In the event of death or incapacitation of a county governor, the county government could always be placed under receivership pending a by-election. The solution could not be carried out at the presidential level though.

    Reply
    • The law introduced for the deputy governor to assume office as county governor when the latter is unable to hold office was meant to ensure smooth running and transition of the county government. That’s why the choice for deputy governor should be as competent as the county governor. What you are proposing is the old way of doing things that Kenyans did away with.

      Reply
  2. The DP being elected alongside the president should be given well laid out functions that do not depend on the decapacitation, absence or the impeachment of the president. The laid down functions bring out the DP as a person appointed/nominated by the President hence his/her powers and functions can be tamed/limited by the president in case of a fallout between the two. The office of the DP should be an independent office otherwise it remains a ceremonial office.

    Reply
    • The president can delegate some functions to the office of the deputy president, but you are right that at least some other functions need to be laid out in the law, or even make the deputy president in charge of some government portfolio like, for example, in the USA.

      Reply
  3. Honestly, I don’t understand why the constitution drafters were so mean on delegating duties of the president to his deputy. I mean, this office should be given clear and straight forward functions and not just rely on circumstantial functions. It pains me, even more, knowing that this idle office has a huge budget allocated to it every year just for doing almost nothing. It’s high time we as a country we identified our mistakes and correct them soon before it’s too late.

    Reply
    • A similar question has been put forward about the position of deputy governors. The solution to this situation is to have either the president or parliament to extend the portfolio of the deputy president (and the governor or county assembly for the deputy governor).

      Reply

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