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Revealed: Intrigues that nearly marred swearing-in ceremony

POLITICS
By Jacob Ngetich | July 14th 2013
Uhuru Kenyatta receives instruments of power from retired President Mwai Kibaki [PHOTO: FILE/STANDARD]

By Jacob Ng’etich

NAIROBI, KENYA: Members of a powerful clique of President Uhuru Kenyatta backers nearly ruined his inauguration ceremony last April.

This was when they attempted to downgrade the office of the Deputy President, The Standard On Sunday can reveal today.  

Unknown to many Kenyans, the order of the swearing-in of the Jubilee duo of President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto nearly 100 days ago would have gone differently had certain powerful individuals had their way.

In their scheme of things, an investigation by The Standard On Sunday shows, the plan was to alter the programme of the day to undermine the position of the Deputy President at a time when Ruto was basking in the glory of having helped propel Uhuru to power.

The aim was to separate ‘the Presidency’ from that of the Deputy President, in what an inside source intimated was “to protect the President”.

It took the firm position of the Judiciary that the President and his Deputy comprised ‘the presidency’ to defeat their plans to swear-in the President-Elect after President Uhuru had taken the instruments of power with the attendant fanfare.

Our investigation shows that a day to the swearing-in, some members in the Assumption of the Office of President Committee worked round the clock to frustrate a programme that had been elaborately drawn.

The initial programme, a copy of which is in our possession, agreed between the Judiciary and the committee was to have both leaders sworn-in between 10am and 2pm, where Ruto would be sworn-in immediately after the President-Elect.

However, a group at the committee altered the original version of the programme with a view to delay the administration of the oaths for the Deputy President until after the President had been handed the instruments of power.

The ceremony was attended by close to 70,000 jubilant Jubilee supporters who had thronged the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, to witness the historic occasion, and senior politicians and leaders from across the continent.

Hijacked programme

The group — that purportedly wanted to ‘protect’ the President-elect — is said to have hijacked the programme, edited sections of it and used the Government Reception Office (GRO) as a conduit to transmit it to the Government Printer where 20,000 copies were printed.

A source at the GRO admitted that a committee member presented the edited version of the programme to the Government Printer through them, a move that was improper according to the protocol.

The two separate programmes indicate different swearing-in timelines and spell the Deputy President’s name differently, one with “arap” and the other without.

The Chief Registrar Gladys Shollei and Chief Justice Willy Mutunga administered the oath of allegiance and the oath of due execution of functions of office to the President and the Deputy President.

It took the firm position of the Judiciary to restore the position of the original programme, after it insisted the swearing-in was solely their mandate.

A source at the Judiciary who sought anonymity given the sensitivity of the matter insisted that the President and his deputy was a one ticket presidency and therefore the President-elect would only take instruments of power after both had been sworn in.

Meanwhile, the fake copies did rounds in the full capacity stadium including the dais where nine African presidents and other Government representatives were seated.

The ceremony was attended by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni dorned with a traditional bush-fighter hat who spoke on behalf of the rest of African Heads of State that included Tanzanian, Jakaya Kikwete, Jacob Zuma of South Africa and Nigeria’s Goodluck Jonathan.

Others were Salva Kiir (Southern Sudan), Paul Kagame (Rwanda), Hassan Sheikh Mohamud (Somalia), Ali Bongo (Gabon), Joseph Kabila (DRC), Ismail Guelleh (Djibouti), Robert Mugabe (Zimbabwe), Haile Mariam Desalegn (Prime Minister – Ethiopia).

After the two had been sworn in, former President Mwai Kibaki, handed over the instruments of power to his successor Uhuru including the Commander-in-Chief’s ceremonial sword and the Constitution.

According to Dr Ben Sihanya, Dean of Law at University of Nairobi, the two positions were inseparable now unlike in the past where the vice-president served at the whims of the Head of State.

“In the current arrangement the two are an entity and that is why they have to go hand in hand, where the Deputy President would easily act as  President at any eventuality including when the Head of State is out of the country or sick,” said Dr Sihanya.

Former Committee of Experts chairman Nzamba Kitonga however, said whereas it was protocol for the two to be sworn in before the handing over of instruments of power, executive power still lays with the President.


 

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