Senator Samson Cherargei has made a controversial proposal, urging President William Ruto to suspend the Kenyan Constitution for a brief period of 72 hours. His intention is to address what he perceives as a threat from former President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga, whom he labels as insurgents. The senator believes that during this time, they should be stripped of state privileges, including security, official cars, offices, and retirement benefits.
The senator’s remarks were prompted by the announcement of plans by the opposition coalition, Azimio la Umoja – One Kenya Coalition, to resume anti-government protests in the coming days. Without providing any evidence, Senator Cherargei accused Kenyatta and Odinga of plotting to overthrow the government and emphasized that the president had declared there would be no demonstrations, as the country cannot afford to be destabilized.
However, it is important to note that suspending the constitution, as suggested by Senator Cherargei, would contradict the very legal framework that establishes the office of the presidency. The constitution serves as the foundation of a country’s legal system, outlining the fundamental principles of governance and delineating the structure of the government. It also defines the role and responsibilities of the presidency.
Therefore, it seems contradictory for Senator Cherargei to propose suspending the constitution, as doing so would undermine the existence of the presidency itself. The act of suspending a constitution typically involves temporarily halting its functions or delaying the implementation of certain provisions.
In Kenya, the constitution allows for the suspension of county governments under specific circumstances outlined in Chapter Eleven – Devolved Government, Part 6 on Suspension of County Governments. However, this provision pertains to the suspension of county governments in the event of emergencies arising from internal conflict, war, or other exceptional circumstances. In such cases, a county government can be suspended if an independent commission of inquiry investigates allegations against it and the president is satisfied with the evidence provided. Nevertheless, the Senate retains the power to terminate the suspension, which cannot extend beyond three months. Additionally, once the 90-day period expires, elections must be conducted in the affected county.
In conclusion, while Senator Cherargei has expressed his concerns about the activities of Kenyatta and Odinga, his proposal to suspend the constitution for 72 hours appears impractical and contradictory to the very legal framework that establishes the presidency. The constitution of Kenya only allows for the suspension of county governments under specific circumstances, and such suspensions are subject to strict procedures and time limitations.