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What It Means To Be President-Elect

What It Means To Be President-Elect

On Monday 15 August 2022, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati declared Deputy President William Ruto as the country’s president-elect. This was after Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza coalition not only garnered the highest number of votes overall according to the IEBC, but more importantly met the two constitutional thresholds of getting at least 50% of all votes cast plus one vote, and earning 25% of votes cast in 24 Counties.

 

Chebukati made matters official when through a Kenya Gazette notice of Tuesday 16 August 2022, he confirmed Ruto and his running mate, former Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua as President-elect and Deputy President-elect respectively. 

 

“In exercise of the powers conferred by Article 88 (4), 136, 138 (4), and 148 (3) of the Constitution of Kenya, section 4 of the IEBC Act 2011, the Chairperson of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission declares that Ruto Samoei William and Rigathi Gachagua have been duly elected as the President and Deputy President respectively, during the General Election held on August 9, 2022,” the gazette notice read in part.

 

What Happens After You Become President-elect

 

When the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) declares the final results of the presidential election (as instructed by Article 138 of the Constitution and Section 39 of the Elections Act 2011), the mandate of the Assumption of the Office of President Committee becomes automatically triggered.

 

The Committee’s immediate task, according to core functions, is to ensure that the president-elect and deputy president-elect are accorded adequate security befitting of their new status.

 

President-elect William Ruto at the Bomas of Kenya. Image source: REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

 

“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 (No. 24 of 2011), the Committee shall ensure that the president-elect and deputy president-elect are accorded adequate security,” reads an excerpt from the Assumption of Office of the President Act 2012.

 

The president-elect will also start receiving briefings from the respective national security organs, including the National Intelligence Service (NIS), the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) and the National Police Service (NPS).

 

This, and other necessary information from public officers should be availed to the president-elect within a reasonable time. Further, the Act gives the president-elect powers to request for any information from public officers, as long as such an ask by the president-elect is made in writing.

 

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Key Dates for the President-Elect

 

  • In the event the presidential election results are not contested at the Supreme Court, the president-elect and his deputy will be sworn in on 30 August in the capital city. This day shall be a public holiday.  “The swearing-in of the president-elect shall be conducted in a public ceremony held in the capital city in accordance with Article 141 of the Constitution,” the Constitution states. It shall be administered before the Chief Justice (or if absent, the Deputy Chief Justice) no earlier than 10.00 am and not later than 2.00 pm.

 

  • Any person dissatisfied with the declaration of the president-elect has seven days from the day the results are announced to file a petition at the Supreme Court. This puts the last day of filing the presidential petition on Monday 22 August.

 

  • According to Article 140(2) of the Constitution, if the presidential election is contested, the Supreme Court shall determine the petition within 14 days from the date of filing. Therefore, this potentially puts the last day the Supreme Court could render its decision on Monday 5 September 2022. However, according to Article 141(2)(b) of the Constitution, if the Supreme Court dismisses the petition, the swearing-in will happen on “the seventh day following the date on which the court renders a decision declaring the election to be valid.” This therefore potentially puts the last day  the swearing-in can happen on Monday 12 September 22. The Supreme Court’s decision is final. 

 

  • If the presidential election is not contested, or if the contest does not sail through at the Supreme Court, the president-elect and deputy president-elect will be sworn into office in accordance with Article 141 of the Constitution. “Upon taking or subscribing to the oath or affirmation under subsection (1), the President shall sign a certificate of inauguration in the presence of the Chief Justice or in the absence of the Chief Justice, the Deputy Chief Justice.” After the president-elect signs the certificate of inauguration, the incumbent will hand over to him instruments of power and authority which include a sword and the Constitution.

 

  • The Aide De Camp (ADC) will then move from behind President Uhuru Kenyatta and stand behind the new president, giving a salute to complete signaling the change of guard.

 

  • The deputy president-elect will then take the oath of office. Thereafter, the president – previously the president-elect – will give an inauguration speech to the nation.

 

The Kenya Gazette notice that confirms William Ruto and Rigathi Gachagua as President-elect and Deputy President-elect.

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