By Alex Ndegwa
President Kibaki on Friday leads the Grand Coalition Government to a conference in Mombasa to facilitate peaceful elections and a smooth transition as he prepares to exit office next year.
Coming 10 months to the General Election to pick his successor, the conference’s discourse is critical to President Kibaki’s goal to secure political stability to erase the 2008 post-election violence blot.
On Thursday, the Cabinet approved the Assumption of the Office of the President Bill that lays out the process for ensuring there is no power vacuum once a winner of the election is declared. It proposes top civil servants in charge of strategic dockets constitute a committee to oversee the transition.
According to the Bill, the president-elect will start receiving national security briefings even before he or she is sworn-in.
The committee will facilitate the handing-over by the President to the president-elect, and coordinating the exercise to ensure it’s smooth and efficient. A public holiday will be declared on the day the President is sworn-in, said the PPS dispatch to newsrooms.
The legislation addresses criticisms raised about Kibaki’s hurried swearing-in at dusk for a controversial second term on December 30, 2007. Also it is meant to avoid the chaos that followed the opposition’s electoral removal of the Kanu regime in 2002.
With his two five-year terms ending on December 30, and elections scheduled in March, peaceful, free and fair elections, and smooth handover of power have featured constantly in the President’s recent addresses.
Moreover, the sunset of Kibaki’s regime is stalked by two challenges that could undermine peace and security, including the threat of terror attacks linked to Kenya Defence Forces operation against Al Shabaab in Somalia.
The two Kenya cases at the International Criminal Court (ICC), for which parties will set the trial date during Monday and Tuesday status conference in The Hague, pose another challenge due to their being exploited for ethnic mobilisation.
It is against the backdrop of these difficult times that President Kibaki, Prime Minister Raila Odinga, and Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka lead their troops to the Coast in a show of unity and patriotism.