In the new Constitution, like in the old, the President remains the Head of State and Government and exercises executive authority with the help of the Deputy President and Cabinet Secretaries. The President is also the Commander-in- Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces and the chairperson of the National Security Council. The President – as a symbol of national unity – shall hold no other State or public office.
Functions of the President
Like in the old Constitution, the President shall address the first session of a newly – elected Parliament. But unlike in the past, he/ she must make a speech at a special session of Parliament once a year and has the option to address Parliament whenever the need arises.
The country’s chief executive will, once every year, report, in an address to the nation, progress made in the attainment of national values (as referred to in Article 10 of the new Constitution). Details of such information will be published in the Kenya Gazette.
The Head of State will submit a report for debate to Parliament on the progress made in fulfilling Kenya’s international obligation.
The President will nominate and, with the approval of Parliament, appoint Cabinet Secretaries, the Attorney-General, the Secretary to the Cabinet, Principal Secretaries (formerly Permanent Secretaries), high commissioners, ambassadors, and diplomatic and consular representatives.
The President will chair Cabinet meetings, direct and coordinate functions of ministries and Government departments. And, with recommendations of the Public Service Commission, the Head of State has powers to establish offices in the Public Service.
The President will receive foreign diplomatic and consular representatives, confer honours, declare a state of emergency; and with the approval of Parliament, declare war.
If petitioned, the Head of State can exercise the power of mercy with the advice of the Advisory Committee by granting free or conditional pardon to a convict, postpone the carrying out of a punishment, substitute a less severe form of punishment; or remit all or part of the punishment.
The Advisory Committee on the Power of Mercy will comprise the Attorney-General, the Cabinet Secretary responsible for correctional services and at least five other members, none of whom may be a State officer or in public service.
A decision of the President, in the performance of any function under the Constitution, shall be in writing and shall bear the seal and signature of the President.