Roles and Functions

 

As previously mentioned, the Commissions and Independent Offices serve to entrench good governance and accountability. They also exist to protect the rights and liberties of the people and their sovereign power:

249. (1) The objects of the commissions and the independent offices are to— (a) protect the sovereignty of the people; (b) secure the observance by all State organs of democratic values and principles; and (c) promote constitutionalism.

Writing on "Restructuring the Kenyan State", Joshua M Kivuva says of commissions and the independent offices that, "In a bid to restructure the government to facilitate better provision of services and better systems of accountability, the 2010 Constitution seems to have created a fourth arm of the government ....... that of constitutional office holders and commissions which collectively have far reaching functions and mandates" (Kivuva, 2011).

Given their unique (but constitutional) existence - distinct and separate from the three traditional arms of government, ie., Parliament, the Executive (Cabinet) and the Judiciary - the Commissions and Independent offices are in essence, a creative addition to governance and accountability borne of the people's determination and will to assure themselves that they will be listened to and be well governed in future. In fact, a citizen can take a complaint directly to a Commission or to an Independent Office fully assured that their concern will be addressed:

252. (1) Each commission, and each holder of an independent office— (a) may conduct investigations on its own initiative or on a complaint made by a member of the public; (b) has the powers necessary for conciliation, mediation and negotiation;

 

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