“Men give away nothing so liberally as their advice.” F. de la Rochefoucauld.
Now that the Supreme Court of Kenya cleared the way for President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto to be sworn into office, the next question is what will be the protocol to be observed on the inauguration day. The key thing of the day (scheduled for 9th April, 2013 at Moi International Sports Center Kasarani which seats 60,000 people. For many employees, this will be a much deserved rest day as it will be a gazetted public holiday) will be the transition of presidential reigns from Emilio Mwai Kibaki to Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta. Technically, this will be Kibaki’s last official duty as he heads into retirement joining his predecessor Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi. This will also be the last day Kibaki’s presidential standard will be hoisted to be replaced by Uhuru’s. (The standard is just another word for flag, usually; you may have noticed that vehicles carrying a president usually have two flags, one the national flag and the other a presidential flag. Jomo Kenyatta’s standard was previously on display at the Kenya National Archives).
Given the situation which transpired at Uhuru Park on 31st December, 2002 when Moi handed over power to Kibaki, the current generation of leaders saw it fit to come up with a clear-cut manner of doing things whereby we will not have to pity Kibaki as some goons who may have a bone to pick with him throw mud at him as it happened to Moi. We may be travelling through previously uncharted waters, but the law is now very lucid on how the president will assume power as set out by law. The relevant law is Article 141 of the Constitution as read with the Assumption to the Office of President 2012 Act. The applicable provisions under the current circumstances is Article 141 (2) (b) which reads;
(2) The President-elect shall be sworn in on the first Tuesday following––
(b) the seventh day following the date on which the court renders a decision declaring the election to be valid, if any petition has been filed under Article 140.
To make this day successful and hitch free, there is an established Committee to the Assumption to the Office of President headed by the current Head of Public Service Francis Kimemia who is also its chairman. This time, just like in 2002, the swearing-in will be in broad daylight and I believe UK may not have to struggle with some words the way Kibaki inserted “kazi ya uhalifu” in his oath in 2007.
What happens if a president dies before assuming office? This is tackled by Article 139. Should a President-elect die before being sworn in, the Deputy-elect will be sworn in as an acting President on the date on which the President-elect would otherwise have been sworn-in and a fresh election to the office of President shall be held within sixty days after the death of the President-elect.
If both the persons declared elected as the President and the Deputy President die before assuming office, the constitution decrees that the Speaker of the National Assembly (this would be Justin Muturi) shall act as President from the date on which the President-elect would otherwise have been sworn-in and a fresh presidential election shall be conducted within sixty days after the second death. Reliable sources indicate that Uhuru and Ruto cannot currently attend public events together, board the same aircraft or be outside the boarders of the country at the same time until they are sworn into office.
On the appointed day, Uhuru and Ruto will precede Kibaki in arriving at Kasarani and Kibaki will be the last to arrive in his motorcade with police outriders from Sierra Hotel (State House) in what will be his last presidential ride and function. President Kibaki will inspect a Guard of Honour, his last as Head of State, before going to the main dais where he will shake hands with the incoming President. Then the prayers will be offered from several religions and traditional leaders.
Uhuru will be administered the oaths by The Chief Registrar of the Judiciary, the affable Mrs. Gladys Boss Shollei (Kenyan advocates must be familiar with her scorpion-like signature on their current practicing certificates) in the presence of Chief Justice Dr. Willy Mutunga. Uhuru will take and subscribe to the oath or affirmation of allegiance and the oath or affirmation for the execution of the functions of office in accordance with Article 141 of the Constitution. In 2002, it was Amos Wako; Chief Justice Bernard Chunga assisted by William Ouko (as he then was). In the absence of the Chief Justice, the Deputy Chief Justice (Who we currently do not have after the monkey business and exploits of Nancy Baraza although we are still awaiting the approval or rejection of Lady-Justice Kalpana Rawal by parliament) is mandated by law to swear in the president and the deputy president. The passing of instruments of power will take place after Uhuru takes the oath of office and signs a certificate of inauguration.
Kibaki will then hand over the ‘instruments of power and authority’ – a special sword and the 2010 Constitution – to Uhuru. Uhuru will also be handed the EGH chain.The ceremonial sword will mark the change of guard from Kibaki as the Commander-in-Chief (C-in-C, pronounced sinc in military parlance) of Kenya Defence Forces, to UK. At this juncture, Kibaki will cease enjoying the services of an aide-de-camp who will now be seen standing or seating behind Uhuru.
Upon completion of the swearing-in of the President-elect, the deputy President-elect, William Ruto will be sworn into office by Chief-Justice Dr. Willy Mutunga by taking and subscribing to the oath or affirmation of allegiance and oath or affirmation for the execution of the functions of office in accordance with Article 148 of the Constitution. After swearing has been dispensed with, Ruto will then be required to call on Kibaki to give his exit speech. Thereafter, Kibaki will invite President Uhuru to deliver his inaugural speech to the nation which will likely set out his agenda for the next five years. Twaisubiri speechi hii kwa hamu na ghamu kufahamu yaliyomo.
After the swearing-in, Kibaki’s white presidential flag will be lowered as Uhuru’s navy blue one hoisted. The National Anthem will then be played to pave the way for a change of the standard, which is to be displayed alongside the national flag whenever Uhuru is on official assignment. The flags also flying on Kibaki’s limousine pendants will be folded up.
Kibaki will then (I assume) rush to State House to welcome the new occupant Uhuru before he is driven to either Muthaiga or some place he may decide as a citizen of this country. (Those who were around in 2002 may wish to replay the scene where Moi boarded the chopper to take him to Kabarak in the presence of weeping Hon. Zipporah Kittony and Dr. Sally Kosgei). I do not think any tears will be shed this time round.
What I have written may turn out to be true, or may not be adhered to in the order set out, but this is my opinion.