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Swearing-in millions dilemma for presidency

Kenyans at the Moi International Sports Centre in Kasarani for the swearing-in ceremony of President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2013. FILE PHOTO
Kenyans at the Moi International Sports Centre in Kasarani for the swearing-in ceremony of President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2013. FILE PHOTO  

The cash for swearing in the President after the August 8 General Election is missing in the national budget for the current financial year after Parliament failed to honour State House’s push for the allocation.

The Treasury says the Sh384.25 million needed for a smooth political transition after the August poll was not factored in the budget for the year starting July.

The cash is needed for a top-level committee that will guide the transfer of power in the weeks between when the poll agency declares the presidential poll winner and the public swearing-in ceremony attended by heads of State and diplomats at taxpayers’ expense.

State House in March had lobbied MPs to include the Sh384.2 million in the Presidency budget for the occasion.

But a report released by the Treasury a week to the August 8 election indicates that the budget for the assumption of office remains unfunded to date.

The Pre-Election Economic and Fiscal Report is a requirement of the law and shows expenses tied to the poll. It must be issued four months before the poll or April 4, but the Treasury made it public less than two weeks ago.

Power transfer

The budget for the function is especially crucial in the event of a power transfer from the incumbent to an Opposition candidate.

The cash is used to prepare the new head of State, including organising new staff, security and briefings from top government officials for the President-elect as well as facilitate communication between the outgoing and the incoming President.

The swearing-in is done by a committee of 22 people, including security chiefs, Attorney-General, principal secretaries, one Cabinet secretary and three persons nominated by the President-elect in line with the Assumption of Office of President Act.

The swearing-in date is deemed to be the 14th day after the day of the declaration of presidential results if no election petition has been filed or the seventh day from when the court gives a decision declaring the election to be valid.

Eleven heads of State attended the April 2013 inauguration of Uhuru Kenyatta as Kenya’s fourth President.

Under the Assumption of the Office of President Act, an ad hoc committee chaired by Secretary to the Cabinet is supposed to prepare a programme for the ceremony immediately after the polls.

Chaotic history

The law was enacted after the chaotic transfer of power from President Daniel arap Moi to Mwai Kibaki in 2002.

A rowdy section of the crowd hurled balls of mud at the retiring President while the VIP dais was full with diplomats and foreign dignitaries having stood for hours without seats.



The law was passed after the chaotic transfer of power from President Daniel arap Moi  to Mwai Kibaki. PHOTO | FILE
The law was passed after the chaotic transfer of power from President Daniel arap Moi to Mwai Kibaki. PHOTO | FILE

For a second term, Mr Kibaki was sworn in late in the evening in 2008 without the usual pomp or diplomats after a contested poll.

Only a few dozen loyalists and civil servants witnessed the occasion at State House.

This came immediately after the electoral agency declared Mr Kibaki the President on December 30, triggering the post-election violence that left at least 1,200 people dead.

Public place

Under the Assumption of the Office of President Act, the swearing-in must be conducted at a public place in Nairobi between 10am and 2pm. The day is reserved as a public holiday.

President Kenyatta is running for a second and final five-year term on a Jubilee Party ticket.

Raila Odinga is the opposition candidate under the National Super Alliance (Nasa).
According to the Act, the Transition Committee will work for a period of one month to complete the power transfer process.

The committee is supposed to start by arranging a security detail, staff and facilities for both the new President and the deputy immediately the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission releases the final results.

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