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William Ruto, Rigathi Gachagua enjoy privileges as they wait to be sworn in

President-elect William Ruto and Deputy President-elect Rigathi Gachagua hold their election certificate at the Bomas of Kenya on August 15, 2022. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission's announcement that elevated William Ruto and Rigathi Gachagua to the president and deputy president-elect, respectively, means they get to enjoy new trappings of power and privileges pending their official swearing-in.

Dr Ruto spent the better part of yesterday at his Karen residence where he received congratulatory messages from around the globe.

This, as the government transition committee, fine-tunes plans for the official handover of power by the end of this month if no presidential poll petition is filed at the Supreme Court.

Mr Gachagua's security has already been beefed up, while the president-elect is expected to receive security briefings, at his request, from security agencies.

Security expert George Msamali said these changes took place immediately after Ruto signed his certificate at the Bomas of Kenya when the presidential escort team and  G-Company unit of the Recce squad took over.

Mr Msamali said the General Service Unit (GSU) officers who were initially guarding the DP’s official residences in Karen, Nairobi, and his rural Sugoi home were immediately reinstated. Last year, officers from the Administration Police were assigned to Ruto's residence after the GSU officers were removed in unclear circumstances

Msamali said Rigathi’s home in Mathira is also being guarded by the elite GSU team. "The presidential security team was standing by at the Bomas of Kenya waiting for the announcement by Chebukati. Everything on matters security changed at that moment."

Ruto’s police escort will also move up from four outriders and enjoy top presidential security. During his tenure as DP, the four outriders were divided into three; two for him, one for his wife Rachael and one for his children. These numbers are now expected to almost triple those enjoyed by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Besides their enhanced security, Article 9 of the Assumption of the Office of President Act, directs that Ruto and Gachagua should, at their request, receive security briefs from the relevant agencies. These include the National Intelligence Service, the military and the National Police Service.

Further, Article 11 of the same Act dictates that any public officer from whom information is requested by the two shall provide it within a reasonable time.

The Act warns that any public officer who fails to comply with the request commits an offence and is liable, upon conviction, to a fine not exceeding Sh1 million or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or both.

Experts say this legal provision puts Uhuru's key security men who had fallen out with Ruto ahead of the elections in a catch-22 situation. They will have no option but to comply.

The president-elect is also expected to nominate three persons to the Assumption of the Office of President Committee that includes, among others, Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua, Attorney General Kihara Kariuki, Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho, Foreign Affairs PS Macharia Kamau, Judiciary Registrar Anne Amadi, and clerks of the two Houses of Parliament.

Since President Kenyatta is still in office, Ruto cannot transact external business on behalf of the State, cannot summon Cabinet secretaries, or hire and fire any public servants.

In the event there is no petition challenging their election in the next seven days, Ruto and Rigathi will be sworn in on August 30, which is the first Tuesday after 14 days since the declaration of election results.

Once sworn in, Ruto will become the fifth president of Kenya while Rigathi becomes the second deputy president of the republic.

Following Chebukati’s announcement on Monday, any person aggrieved with the outcome can challenge the verdict at the Supreme Court before seven days lapse, which will be Monday, August 22. 

Article 140 of the Constitution directs that the court shall hear and deliver a verdict on the petition within 14 days, thus fixing the deadline for Sunday, September 4.