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All eyes on IEBC as Joseph Kinyua's team says it is ready for transition

Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua (centre) said the transition process will kick off once the IEBC formally declares the president-elect.. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

The transition is nigh. State House must get a new occupant and ‘Hustler’s mansion’ in Karen is waiting for Kenya’s second deputy president.

On August 12, the Assumption of Office of President Committee said it everything is in place for the swearing-in ceremony of the winner of this year’s presidential election. But where will it be? 

Will it be at the Catholic University where Deputy President William Ruto has set up his command centre or at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre where Azimio la Umoja presidential candidate Raila Odinga has established his base?

With Uhuru Park no longer available for huge ceremonies, will President Uhuru Kenyatta hand over the instruments of power at Kasarani Stadium where he received them from Mwai Kibaki in 2013? Or will it be Nyayo National Stadium?

While the nation awaits confirmation of the finer details, which is likely to happen after the winner has been declared, sources indicate President Uhuru has already moved some of his stuff from State House to his private residence next door. It is also understood that the president has picked some of his close staff whom he will work with as a civilian. Others have been redeployed to other workstations.

The law provides a retired president is entitled to two personal assistants, four secretaries, four messengers, four drivers and bodyguards. The total workforce in the package is 34. Uhuru will also get fuel, house and entertainment allowances.

On August 12, as the country waited with bated breath for the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati to announce the president-elect, the transition committee held its inaugural meeting.

The meeting chaired by Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua took place against the background of a flurry of meetings and phone calls by senior politicians in intense lobbying in readiness for the transition.

 The 15-member committee said the transition process will kick off once the IEBC formally declares the president-elect.

Mr Kinyua said: “In fidelity with the dictates of our Constitution, I have this morning chaired the inaugural meeting of the Assumption of the Office of President Committee.”

Established under the Assumption of the Office of the President Act No.21 of 2012, the committee is in charge of facilitating the handing over process by the outgoing President to the President-elect, the provision of the security detail and security briefings to the President-Elect among other key functions.

“We shall organise the security of the president-elect, organise for the necessary facilities and personnel for the president-elect and facilitate communication between the outgoing president and the president-elect and lastly prepare the programme and organise the swearing-in ceremony,” said Dr Kinyua.

Security briefings

The Act further directs that the committee shall ensure the president-elect and deputy president-elect are accorded adequate security and receive security briefings from the national security organs.

The committee is also required to conduct the swearing-in ceremony in public and in the capital city. The Act further guides that the day of the ceremony be designated as a public holiday.

Yesterday, both Ruto and Raila had a busy day meeting various delegations and leaders as they waited for the IEBC to announce who won the closely fought contest.

Ruto met African Union (AU)-Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) Election Observer Mission. He posted on Twitter: “At Karen office held meeting with AU Comesa Election Observer Mission who congratulated Kenya and voters for a peaceful election.”

The mission led by former Sierra Leone president Earnest Bai Koroma consists of former presidents Mulato Teshome (Ethiopia), Domituen Ndayizeye (Burudi) and Ambassador Marie-Peirre Llyod.

According to the Ruto camp, there were calls from senior politicians and government officials to him over a peaceful transition.

And the Catholic University of East Africa was a beehive of activities as leaders allied to DP Ruto trooped in and out. Uasin Gishu governor-elect Jonathan Bii and Turbo MP Janet Sitienei could be seen hugging and chatting animatedly with DP’s supporters.

Former Machakos Town MP Victor Munyaka was also in the facility as was ANC deputy party leader Charles Matoke, who said they had come to show solidarity.

“As things stand, our presidential candidate William Ruto has won. We are only waiting for IEBC to declare the official results any time from now,” said Matoke.

The centre was to coordinate Ruto’s vote tallying across the country with aides saying they had completed their work and were satisfied with the outcome and were only waiting for IEBC to announce official results.

Entry to the facility was restricted to authorised individuals only.

On the other hand, Raila and his running mate Martha Karua held a meeting with fellow Azimio principals to plan for the transition of power. They were also confident of a win and ready to occupy State House after the official announcement of election results by the IEBC.

On Wednesday night, there were celebrations when Azimio supporters visited KICC where a special wing complete with a red carpet had been created for Raila to give his acceptance if he is declared the winner.

The Constitution dictates that the president-elect be sworn in on the first Tuesday following the fourteenth day after the date of the declaration of the result of the presidential election if no petition has been filed.

President Kenyatta appointed the 15-member committee in early July pulling in individuals from different government agencies as required by law. Apart from Kinyua, others are Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi, Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho, Inspector General of Police Hilary Mutyambai, Chief of Defence Forces General Robert Kibochi, National Intelligence Service Director General Philip Kameru, Chief Registrar of Judiciary Anne Amadi, Comptroller of State House Kinuthia Mbugua, Attorney General Kihara Kariuki, Principal Secretaries Jerome Ochieng (ICT and Innovation), Julius Muia (National Treasury), Macharia Kamau (Foreign Affairs), Julius Korir (Devolution), Joe Okudo (Sports) and Solicitor General Ken Ogeto.

The committee’s input during the current political space occasioned by a long wait for the declaration of the presidential race winner, is a sign that the end is near.

The IEBC has expressed optimism that it would announce the presidential results before the seven-day period provided for by the law.

Two weeks ago, all the 22 ministries prepared detailed handover reports and handed them over to Kinyua.

The reports contain among other things an inventory of all staff, equipment, projects and outstanding bills. This report will be handed over to the incoming Cabinet secretaries and their principal secretaries.