BBI team should seriously consider Muturi proposal

In Summary

• The Speaker wants an executive President to be chosen by the biggest party in the National Assembly

• This would be a similar system to South Africa where the ANC has selected all the country's presidents since the end of apartheid

Speaker Justin Muturi making his presentation before the BBI taskforce
Speaker Justin Muturi making his presentation before the BBI taskforce

Earlier this week, Justin Muturi, the Speaker of the National Assembly, proposed that Kenya should have an executive president chosen by the largest party in the National Assembly. Kenyans would vote for their preferred party at constituency level and their elected representatives would then choose the  President.

Densely populated Central Province might lose out under this arrangement so, to compensate, Muturi proposed that there should be no constituencies larger than 200,000 people. 


Muturi's argued that presidential elections have been very divisive in the past, especially 2007, and this would create a more cohesive system. There would be hot political competition at constituency level but it would not be winner-takes-all at the national level.

This is very similar to the South African presidential system. It is not dissimilar to the Westminster system where MPs choose an executive Prime Minister.

However the Westminster system has a ceremonial head of state who curbs the power of the Prime Minister. The South African system relies primarily on the judiciary to limit the President's power as he is the creature of the National Assembly. This partly explains how President Jacob Zuma was able to pursue 'state capture' and the personal enrichment of himself and his cronies.

Nevertheless Muturi's proposal for a President chosen by the National Assembly is a very interesting alternative that should be seriously considered by the BBI team.

Quote of the day: “I recognise the place, I feel at home here, but I don't belong. I am of, and not of, this place.

Caryl Phillips
The Caribbean-English author was born on March 13, 1958