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Special police unit ready at Bomas to take charge of security of the President elect

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Seated in a wheelchair after a bad road accident he had suffered while on the campaign trail weeks earlier, President-elect Mwai Kibaki was sworn in by then Chief Justice Bernard Chunga at Uhuru Park in 2002.

Seated in a wheelchair after a bad road accident he had suffered while on the campaign trail weeks earlier, President-elect Mwai Kibaki was sworn in by then Chief Justice Bernard Chunga at Uhuru Park in 2002.  NATION

By By PETER LEFTIE pmutibo@ke.nationmedia.com  (email the author)
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Posted  Sunday, March 3  2013 at  00:27

In Summary

  • After the announcement, the President-elect will take charge of his own swearing-in ceremony, giving a list of those he or she wants to attend including which heads of state or other foreign government representatives he or she wants present.
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President Kibaki will hand over to his successor in an elaborate and colourful public function in stark contrast to the chaotic and disruptive swearing-in ceremonies witnessed after the last two elections.

Barring a run-off or a successful petition challenging the outcome of the March 4 presidential election, the nation’s fourth president will be sworn in on March 26, according to a programme being prepared by the Committee of Assumption of the Office of the President chaired by public service head Francis Kimemia.

Security for the president-elect, drawn from the Recce Unit of the General Service Unit, will be on standby at the Bomas of Kenya tomorrow night, ready to take charge as soon as the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission chairman Isaack Hassan announces the winner of the presidential election.

It is expected that the next president will be known by Tuesday morning at the very latest, with the bulk of results having come it to the Bomas overnight.

“Immediately the electoral body declares the winner, the President-elect and his deputy will be given adequate security. We have already prepared for this,” Mr Kimemia told the media.

Main tallying centre

“We have organised this since the presidential candidates will be at the main tallying centre; security will be given to the winner once announced to enable a smooth transition,” he said.

The plans are being carried out in accordance with Section 9 of the Assumption of the Office of the President Act, 2012, which states: “Upon the declaration of the final results of a presidential election by the Commission under Article 138 of the Constitution and section 39 of the Elections Act, the Committee shall ensure that the President-elect and Deputy President-elect are accorded adequate security.”

After the announcement, the President-elect will take charge of his own swearing-in ceremony, giving a list of those he or she wants to attend including which heads of state or other foreign government representatives he or she wants present.

The president-elect’s official motorcade has already been identified and put on standby.

“We have set aside new vehicles for both the incoming and outgoing presidents. They will also hold a joint briefing after the President-elect is known,” Mr Kimemia said.

Once the security and presidential entourage issues are addressed, the incoming President will be briefed on various issues of national interest including the state of the country’s security, the Vision 2030 development masterplan and the state of government business.

“It will be an open affair; they will get to know the security functions, as he or she will be the commander-in-chief,” Mr Kimemia said.

The new President will decide the kind of ceremony they want and the inauguration date.

The day will be gazetted by a special Gazette notice; it will be a public holiday, and the event will be held in the capital city not earlier than 10am and not later than 2pm.

The law stipulates that the President be sworn in before the Chief Justice or in the absence of the CJ, the Deputy Chief Justice. Attorney-General Prof Githu Muigai said earlier in the week that in the absence of the CJ the most senior judge in the Court of Appeal can step in.

The President-elect will sign a certificate of inauguration during the swearing-in.

After taking his or her oath of office, the new President will be handed the instruments of power.

Oath puts him in power

The ceremonial military uniform reserved for the commander-in-chief will be made available as per his or her specifications.

The incoming President cannot, however, make any decisions until after the swearing-in.

“The oath is what puts him or her in power,” Mr Kimemia said.

Unlike the 1978 and 2002 handing over ceremonies that were at best haphazard if not outright chaotic, this year’s plans are carefully choreographed.

President Kibaki was sworn in as Kenya’s third President on December 30, 2002, in a poorly organised and unruly ceremony at the Uhuru Park grounds.

Seated in a wheelchair after a bad road accident he had suffered on the campaign trail weeks earlier, Mr Kibaki was sworn in by then Chief Justice Bernard Chunga and then Head of Civil Service Dr Sally Kosgei in a ceremony conducted by a former presidential aide-de-damp, Major-General Alexander Sitienei, and witnessed by then Chief of General Staff Gen Joseph Kibwana and the service commanders.

The outgoing President was roundly booed by the unruly masses as he gave his speech and when he left the grounds.

Mr Kibaki followed with his speech, delivered from his wheelchair, promising a new beginning after years of “misrule and ineptitude”.

Twenty-four years earlier, a then 54-year-old Moi had taken the reins of office at the very same grounds.