Understanding Kenyan Politics: The Case of Deputy Presidency from 1963 to 2022

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International Journal of Research and Innovation in Applied Science (IJRIAS) |Volume VIII, Issue IV, April 2023|ISSN 2454-6194

Understanding Kenyan Politics: The Case of Deputy Presidency from 1963 to 2022

Tinashe Gumbo
All Africa Conference of Churches

IJRISS Call for paper

DOI: https://doi.org/10.51584/IJRIAS.2023.8417

Received: 25 February 2023; Revised: 28 March 2023; Accepted: 03 April 2023; Published: 5 May 2023

Abstract: According to Kenyan Constitution (2010, Section 147), the duties of the Deputy President (previously Vice President) include assisting the President with administrative tasks, representing the President in international forums, and filling any vacancies that may occur in the event that the current President passes away, is impeached, or is found guilty. The Deputy President is thus the second-highest political official in Kenya. Hence, the Vice President is Kenya’s second-highest elected office. He or she is the President’s assistant. Yet, since independence, there have consistently been disputes in Kenya between the State Presidents who have led the country successively and their deputies. This article attempts at finding the root that defines the disputes. The article also argues that while the Kenyans changed their constitution in 2010, the issue did not improve, instead, it became worse since the Deputy President is now being protected by the constitution from being dismissed by the President. Thus, continued friction has a serious impact on the lives of ordinary people. The article is hinged on desk review and some insights observed by the author as an “outsider” who resided in that country. The article is a modification of the essay developed and shared in public through the author’s blog in 2022 as Kenya prepared for its general elections. The feedback received from the readers further shaped the article in its current form. The article takes a historical approach as it tracks the key events from 1963 to 2022 with regard to the two offices in Kenya. It concludes that the problem emanated from ambitious deputies but was also amplified by the insecurities felt by the successive Presidents. The article recommends a review of the constitution to allow members of the public to decide on the fate of a deputy president in extreme cases.

Key Words: Deputy, President, Ambitious, Insecurity, Kenyan Politics

I. Introduction

This article profiles the political history of all the Kenyan Vice (Deputy) Presidents from independence from the British colonialists in 1963 to 2022. It notes that this strategic office has been characterized by resignations, dismissals, deaths, friction, mistrust between the Presidents and Deputy Presidents, and succession dynamics within the office of the President. Two key questions guide this article: