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The transition process after Ruto became president-elect

IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati hands the election certificate to President-elect William Ruto at Bomas of Kenya on August 15, 2022. [Standard]

The declaration of Kenya Kwanza Alliance leader William Ruto as the president-elect has set in motion the transition process from President Uhuru Kenyatta's administration to a new government.

On Monday, in a day of high drama, Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati declared Dr Ruto as president-elect, necessitating a handover of power from the ruling Jubilee government to Ruto's United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party.

Ruto, who has served as Deputy President since 2013, garnered 50.49 per cent of the vote while his main competitor, Raila Odinga of the Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya Coalition party managed 48.85 per cent.

The transition process is one of the most important democratic undertakings after an election.

Indeed, the transition process begins way before election day. According to the Assumption of the Office of President Act, the incumbent government is expected to establish a team known as the Assumption of the Office of President Committee that is tasked with overseeing the transition, at least 30 days before a General Election.

In July, President Uhuru Kenyatta formed a Transition Committee to oversee the handover of power.

The members included Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i, his Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho, Inspector General of Police Hilary Mutyambai, Chief of Defence Forces General Robert Kibochi, National Intelligence Service Director Philip Kameru and Registrar of the High Court Anne Amadi.

Others are State House Comptroller Kinuthia Mbugua, Attorney General Kihara Kariuki, PSs Jerome Ochieng, Julius Muia, Macharia Kamau, Julius Korir and Joe Okudo, and Solicitor General Ken Ogeto.

The committee is mandated to facilitate the handing over process by the outgoing president to the president-elect, provision of security detail and security briefings to the president-elect, among other key functions.

With the announcement of Ruto as the president-elect, he should be sworn in on the first Tuesday after the lapse of 14 days after the presidential votes declaration. But given the tightly contested nature of the presidential election and arising controversies, the battle is now headed to the courts.

Rejected results

If the Supreme Court nullifies the results, a fresh election will then be held within 60 days after the decision. But should the petition be thrown out, the swearing-in will proceed on the first Tuesday, 14 days after Monday’s announcement of results.

The oath-taking and swearing-in will happen seven days after the date on which the court renders a decision declaring the election to be valid, if any petition was filed.

In the event Raila, who rejected the results yesterday, goes to the Supreme Court, the transition committee could be forced to halt operations until a judgement is rendered.

If the election is nullified, the committee ceases to exist. If Ruto's victory is upheld, then they would have to prepare the swearing-in ceremony 14 days after the Supreme Court issues its judgement.

The law provides that during inauguration day, a presidential motorcade will be sent to the residences of the president-elect and his deputy. The motorcade will be heavily guarded by General Service Unit (GSU) officers who will lead them to the venue of the swearing-in ceremony.

Last time, the swearing-in ceremony was at Kasarani Stadium where President Kenyatta took oath of office.

On his way to the venue, the president-elect will be briefed on issues such as government structures, intelligence, state of the economy and exact details of the swearing-in process.

Prior to the event, names of all guests and dignitaries expected will be sent to the transition committee by the president-elect and the outgoing president.

Consequently, the ceremony will take place between 10am and 2pm, with the venue opened by 6am.

On entering the grounds, the president-elect will make his way into the venue accompanied by a military parade.

The outgoing Head of State will then arrive and what will follow is prayers and entertainment from invited artistes.

Thereafter, the oath of office will be administered by the Chief Justice and the Registrar of the High Court.

President Kenyatta will hand over symbols of power, including the Constitution and the sword of power.

The newly sworn deputy president will then take to the podium to make an address after which he or she will invite the outgoing president. They will read speeches prepared by the organising committee.

The outgoing president will then invite the incoming Head of State to make his address. The national anthem will be played and soon after, the outgoing president will leave for State House where he will officially hand over the premises to Kenya's fifth president.

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