PSC opposes custodial transfer of the Public seal

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PSC opposes custodial transfer of the Public seal

In essence, the Public Service Commission (PSC) has objected to proposed legislative changes that would move the responsibility of safeguarding the Public Seal from the Attorney General’s Office to the Head of Public Service.

Jackline Monami, the commission’s Legal Advisor, contended that the Public Seal is a significant national emblem and should not be transferred to the Head of Public Service, as their role operates under the President’s discretion.

The Public Seal serves as a distinctive mark on vital documents, signifying their authenticity and official status.

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“This in turn takes away the approval that is required from the Attorney General before the series are fixed on important government documents for the authentication,” said Monami.

During the public participation phase of the National Government Administration Laws (Amendment Bill), 2023, currently under review by the National Assembly Justice and Legal Affairs Committee (JLAC), the Public Service Commission (PSC) voiced its concerns.

The PSC, tasked with advising the government on the establishment and elimination of public offices, emphasized the need for clarity regarding the distinction between the Presidential seal and the public seal.

The PSC suggested that the Office of Public Service, which acts as the administrative leader of the executive office of the president, should be entrusted with the custody of the Presidential seal.

“Be the custodian of the Presidential seal transmits executive directives, orders and presidential proclamations to ministry, state organ state departments and state agencies for the information implementation,” noted

Similarly, the Public Service Commission (PSC) is proposing the separation of the Office of the Chief of Staff from the Office of the Head of Public Service, citing concerns about potential conflicts of interest.

This move reflects the commission’s aim to ensure clear delineation of roles and responsibilities within the government structure.

“The two offices should be separate should be separated as they carry different responsibilities. The chief of staff is personal and private to the President. Hence serving in that capacity defeats the public nature of the Office of Head of Public Service,” stated Monami.

Members of Parliament (MPs) have expressed concerns regarding the potential misuse and abuse of the Public Seal if it were to be transferred to the Office of the Head of Public Service, led by Felix Koskei.

The Public Service Commission (PSC) has voiced its support for a proposal to solidify the position of Chief Administrative Secretaries (CAS), despite previous court rulings deeming it unconstitutional. They advocate for this position to be legally established.

The commission suggests that CASs should possess a minimum of 10 years of relevant professional experience, with at least five years in leadership roles within either the public service or private sector.

However, the commission opposes an amendment that suggests CASs should serve as liaisons between the Ministries and Parliament.

“It is the cabinet secretary who is responsible for liaising with parliament.We are proposing that, in that regard in terms of the function of Cas, it should be liaising with parliament on behalf of the Cabinet Secretary,”stated Monami.

The High Court ruled that the appointment of all 50 Chief Administrative Secretaries (CAS) by President William Ruto was unconstitutional. The majority opinion from a three-judge bench emphasized the lack of sufficient public participation in the appointments.

Judge Kanyi Kimondo highlighted that the framers of the Constitution did not anticipate a scenario where 50 CASs would serve as deputies to 22 Cabinet Secretaries. This ruling underscores the importance of adhering to constitutional principles and processes in the appointment of government officials.

“Was there Adequate participation? The petitioners had argued that the appointment did not adhere to public participation especially in the 27 CAS. The judges say that there was no public participation in the appointment of the 27 more CASs,” he ruled.

President William Ruto proceeded to swear in the Chief Administrative Secretaries (CAS) on March 23, following the National Assembly’s refusal to vet them, citing a lack of constitutional authority to do so.

However, the appointment of the CASs was subsequently suspended after challenges from the Law Society of Kenya and the Katiba Institute.

They argued that the law permitted the President to appoint only 23 CASs, rather than the 50 individuals appointed. This legal challenge highlighted discrepancies between the number of appointments made and the provisions outlined in the law.

In Other News: Cabinet’s Secretary Offers Ruto More Powers Similar To Museveni’s

PSC opposes custodial transfer of the Public seal

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