Plans to add more powers to President William Ruto have been initiated following a proposal submitted before a joint Sitting of the National Assembly's Justice and Legal Affairs Committee, and the Committee on Administration and Internal Security.
While appearing before the committee on Monday, February 12, the Secretary to the Cabinet Mercy Wanjau proposed amendments to have President Ruto as the custodian of the Public Seal.
She explained that the Head of State ought to be the custodian of the Public Seal, a mandate that Attorney General Justin Muturi currently holds.
Wanjau who was making her submissions on the National Government Administration Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2023, indicated that the country had moved to a purely presidential system hence the need for the change.
While defending the move, she noted that countries with similar systems such as Uganda have granted the powers to the President.
"She told the Committee that practice in other jurisdictions has it that the President is the sole custodian of the Public Seal. She cited the example of Uganda, Tanzania, and Seychelles, where the head of state is the custodian, but can appoint a person holding service, to act as the custodian, while giving directions as to the manner it will be kept and used," the committee's report read in part.
She emphasized that even with the proposed change effected, the AG would remain a user of the seal, adding that there would be a broad guideline on its use. Currently, the custody of the seal of the Government of Kenya is with the Attorney General.
Wanjau also proposed an enactment of the Public Seal Act, to pave the way for the development of regulations governing the description, design, use, custody, authentication, restriction and display thereof.
What is a Public Seal
A Public Seal is a special symbol mark affixed on important documents to show that they are real and official.
The Kenyan Seal is set out in the Second Schedule of the Constitution on the national symbols.
It is also found in part nine of Chapter Two of the Constitution on national symbols and national days.
Other national symbols are the national flag, the national anthem, and the coat of arms.
The Seal consists of a coat of arms of Kenya set on a grayscale background featuring two lions, a symbol of protection while holding spears, and a traditional East African shield.