The executive orders are important tools providing an avenue to codify decisions and directions made by the president in the course of running a government. The said orders are made pursuant to Articles 132(3) (b), (c), 132(4) and 135 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 and other enabling provisions of law found in different parliamentary legislations and specific Articles of the Constitution.
Article 132 (3) (b) and (c) grants authority to the president to direct and coordinate the functions of ministries and government departments. The president is empowered to publish his decisions assigning responsibilities towards the implementation and administration of any Act of Parliament to a Cabinet secretary. Such decisions should not be inconsistent with any Act of Parliament.
Tentatively, Article 132(4) allows the president to perform any other executive function provided for in the constitution or any other national legislation by way of establishing an office in the public service in accordance with the recommendation of the Public Service Commission. In addition, Presidential directives which will have a greater impact or change in organization structure in government are issued through codified executive orders pursuant to Article 135 of the Constitution of Kenya which requires such decisions to be in writing and bear the seal and signature of the president.
The current president of Kenya Dr. William Samoei Ruto got into office as the albatross of huge public debt and high costs of living hang heavily around Kenya’s neck. The president is set to utilize his powers of issuing executive orders to restructure the government for purposes of achieving his manifesto and improving the country’s economic situation. His first executive order issued in the year 2022 is the restructure of cabinet portfolios, state departments and creation of the new cabinet position of a prime cabinet secretary who will assist in coordinating state departments and parastatals to deliver the intended service.
President Ruto is set to issue numerous executive orders aimed at turning around the economy including reforms in the KRA, trade, cooperatives and the operationalization of the hustler’s fund among others. Executive orders are subject to court scrutiny whereby they can be challenged via a constitutional petition and if successful can be declared unconstitutional. Executive directives are one of the ways the president exercises the sovereignty will of the people hence public participation as espoused under the constitution is key before making certain decisions.