Kenyatta says power transition will be smooth

Saturday August 20 2022
Uhuru Kenyatta

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta at Kisumu Port on August 2, 2022. PHOTO | TONNY OMONDI


Kenya’s outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta is yet to publicly congratulate President-elect William Ruto following the announcement of the election results on Monday.

The two leaders had not spoken to each other by Thursday, according to people close to Mr Ruto, including deputy president-elect Rigathi Gachagua.

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President Kenyatta has repeatedly expressed his commitment to a smooth transition, the latest assurances coming at separate meetings with a US congressional delegation and a group of local religious leaders on Thursday.

Plans for a peaceful power handover to President Kenyatta’s successor are also believed to be already underway — overseen by a transition committee chaired by Kenya’s head of public service.

Read: Kenyatta, Ruto and Odinga commit to peace after talks with US delegation


Also read: Commonwealth boss Scotland praises Kenya’s commitment to peace

The transition could be delayed by a legal challenge of the election results by Raila Odinga.

The Kenyan Supreme Court overturned the results of the presidential election in 2017, on grounds of irregularities in results transmission and vote tallying.

Under the rules and traditions of power transitions in Kenya, the committee is, among other things, expected to facilitate communication between the outgoing president and the president-elect, and the latter should be receiving intelligence briefs.

Kenya has had three smooth transitions to a new president during its 59 years of independence, with the first one in 1978 at the death in office of president Jomo Kenyatta — the incumbent’s father.

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This year’s transition team will deal with personal differences between two men who didn’t see eye to eye for the better part of the past five years when they served in the same government.

President Kenyatta campaigned for Mr Odinga in the closely contested election. Mr Odinga, who lost the presidential election to Mr Ruto by a narrow margin, is in the next three days expected to file a petition seeking to have the results overturned.

Read: African leaders congratulate William Ruto for winning Kenyan election

The Supreme Court will hear and render their decision within 14 days from the date of the petition being filed. The Constitution requires that a president-elect be sworn in on the seventh day from the date of a Supreme Court decision validating the results or a repeat election be held within 60 days in case of a nullification.