The National Government Administration Laws Amendment Bill 2023, championed by Majority Leader Kimani Ichung'wah, has stirred controversy with its proposed modifications to the power dynamics between the President and the Attorney General. The bill aims to reinstate the role of Chief Administrative Secretaries and shift the responsibility for the custody of the public seal and other state instruments from the Attorney General's office to Felix Koskei, the head of Public Service.
The proposed shift has prompted apprehensions about the potential diminishment of the Attorney General's office and the concentration of authority within the President's sphere. Detractors contend that relocating the custody of the public seal, a pivotal tool in formal document execution, diminishes the Attorney General's capacity to uphold the rule of law and safeguard public interests. Furthermore, concerns arise as the head of Public Service is under the President's discretion, prompting queries about the independence of the office and its efficacy as a check on the powers of the executive branch.
The bill has been construed as indicative of a power struggle between Attorney General Justin Muturi and President William Ruto. Muturi faces criticism for his perceived proximity to the President and his perceived reluctance to vocally oppose government policies. Reports are suggesting that he was excluded from the drafting process of the amendment bill, intensifying speculation about a potential discord between him and the President.
Moreover, Muturi finds himself entangled in a power tussle with Solicitor General Shadrack Mose and the Public Service Commission. Mose faces accusations of eclipsing Muturi's role by directly reporting to the President, and concurrently, the Public Service Commission has contested Muturi's authority in overseeing human resource management within the government.
These unfolding events depict a nuanced political terrain where the Attorney General's office becomes entangled amid conflicting interests. The potential passage of the National Government Administration Laws Amendment Bill 2023 holds the prospect of substantially reshaping the power dynamics within the Kenyan government, prompting additional inquiries into the autonomy of pivotal institutions.
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