Ruto free to run for President in 2022, legal experts say


FILE PHOTO | President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto after delivering a statement to ...
FILE PHOTO | President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto after delivering a statement to the Press at State House in Nairobi on September 21, 2017. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

In Summary

  • According to Waiganjo, Ruto, and IEBC can stop his name from being on the ballot.
  • He says IEBC can bar Ruto from contesting if he fails to meet the threshold and deemed unfit.

Former members of the Committee of Experts dismissed claims that Deputy President William Ruto cannot vie for the State House seat on grounds that he will have served in his current position for 10 years by the next election date.

Speaking to Citizen Digital, the legal experts argue that there’s no legal backing for Jubilee’s former Vice Chairman David Murathe who is seeking to block DP Ruto.

As per the dictates of the Kenyan Constitution, President Uhuru Kenyatta will be bidding goodbye to State House in 2022 after his final term.

His deputy, Ruto has shown interest in seeking Kenyans approval to succeed his current boss and there is a general feeling that the former Eldoret North MP is the man to beat cometh the hour.

But his ambition has been challenged.

“Can the president sack his deputy? He cannot because the presidency is a pair. That is why Chapter 148 says you cannot run again,” Murathe said at an past function last week.

According to him, Dr. Ruto will be unfit to run for the top seat after serving as the DP for two terms.

The man who had been widely seen as President Kenyatta’s close ally cited article 148 of the Constitution that states: “A person shall not hold office as Deputy President for more than two terms”.

However, Bob Mkangi, a legal expert responded, “There is no bar to such a person seeking to ascend to the Presidency.”

“I think the question that Murathe is raising is more political… the real issue however is whether the deputy president served almost as a president and therefore will it be politically tenable for him to offer himself for another 10 years as president. That is not a legal question….legally DP Ruto is entitled completely to offer himself…..,” said Kamotho Waiganjo, another legal expert.

Then how would the political question arise?

“The question is, has DP Ruto exercised executive powers? Only sufficient executive powers can bar him from exercising them for another 10 years….and that is a question of fact….,” Waiganjo said.

One can argue yes and sometimes no. But if you compare with how the Jubilee presidency started, one would say they started as almost as a co-presidency.

However, when you look at when Cabinet Secretaries were appointed, that trajectory changed and one cannot be able to say that co – presidency was exercised fully.

“Even if in their agreement, they said they were going to share the Presidency that is their political arrangement which is outside what the constitution perceive. So what they agreed upon during the pre – election talks like how to divide and share government and power is different. The constitution does not entertain co – presidency, it seeks to have a president and a deputy,” Bob Mkangi said.

According to Waiganjo, only the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) can stop Ruto from being on the ballot.

He said IEBC can bar Ruto from contesting if he fails to meet the threshold and deemed unfit.

“The Jubilee party may also seek to convince him not to vie….but the DP must be subject to….,” said Waiganjo.

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