Uhuru sidelin­ing Par­lia­ment in mil­i­tary de­ci­sions, says Raila

The Pres­i­dents is the Com­man­der-in-Chief and the Con­sti­tu­tion gives him the man­date to re­call sol­diers with­out seek­ing leg­is­la­tors’ ap­proval

The Star (Kenya) - - Politics General - JAMES MBAKA @onchir­im­baka

Op­po­si­tion chief Raila Odinga yes­ter­day said the Pres­i­dent’s “rash ac­tion” to re­call Kenyan troops from Juba, South Su­dan, was driven by ego and a de­lib­er­ate mis­in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the law.

He said in the new Con­sti­tu­tion the Pres­i­dent does not have an ex­clu­sive man­date in mat­ters mil­i­tary, nor can he pur­port to have mil­i­tary author­ity over the forces that ex­cludes the rest of Kenyans.

National se­cu­rity is sub­ject to the author­ity of the Con­sti­tu­tion and Par­lia­ment, Raila said. “It is Par­lia­ment, and not the Pres­i­dent, that has over­all author­ity over the mil­i­tary,” the Cord leader said in a state­ment.

The Con­sti­tu­tion in Ar­ti­cle 239 says that the national se­cu­rity or­gans are sub­or­di­nate to civil­ian author­ity.

“The rea­son the Pres­i­dent is the Com­man­der-in-Chief of the Kenya De­fence Forces is be­cause he is a civil­ian. His po­si­tion epit­o­mises the civil­ian author­ity of the peo­ple of Kenya over their mil­i­tary,” Raila said.

Sec­tion 240 of the Con­sti­tu­tion es­tab­lishes the National Se­cu­rity Coun­cil presided over by the Pres­i­dent.

The Coun­cil may, with the ap­proval of Par­lia­ment, de­ploy national forces out­side Kenya for peace sup­port oper­a­tions.

But the Con­sti­tu­tion also gives the Com­man­der-in-Chief the man­date to re­call sol­diers with­out nec­es­sar­ily seek­ing Par­lia­ment’s ap­proval.

DP Wil­liam Ruto on Sun­day told off the op­po­si­tion chief over his crit­i­cism of the Pres­i­dent’s ac­tion to with­draw troops from South Su­dan.

The DP said the Head of State, as the Com­man­der-in-Chief of the KDF, can take de­ci­sions re­gard­ing the troops.

But Raila took is­sue with the way the Pres­i­dent has “ar­ro­gated to him­self power over our mil­i­tary” on the ba­sis that he is the Com­man­der-in-Chief of the KDF with­out seek­ing author­ity from Par­lia­ment.

“This po­si­tion is as au­to­cratic as it is un­con­sti­tu­tional and out­dated. Gone are the days of the Kenya African Ri­fles and the Kenya Armed Forces that ex­isted to pro­tect the regime from its own peo­ple,” Raila said.

“Even in monar­chies, the mon­archs no longer have the power to wake up and do as they wish with­out the ap­proval of the peo­ple through their elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives.”

Raila said the with­drawal of the sol­diers from Juba not only de­nies them the al­lowances they get on such mis­sions, but also in­valu­able ex­pe­ri­ence.

“These are now lost as a re­sult of rash ac­tion,” he said.

Raila urged the Pres­i­dent to “drop the chest thump­ing and en­gage rather than con­front” the UN, as the dam­age al­ready done will take long to undo.

/JACK OWUOR

The first 100 batch of KDF troops from the UN peace­keep­ing mis­sion in South Su­dan ar­rive at JKIA on Novem­ber 9

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