President Kenyatta Monday assured Kenyans of a smooth transfer of power, even as he invited them to scrutinise the decision of the Supreme Court that upheld President-elect William Ruto’s win.
In the speech, the first since Kenyans went to the polls on August 9, President Kenyatta avoided mentioning the name of Dr Ruto, his estranged deputy, or directly congratulating him.
He instead congratulated “all who have won”, hours after Dr Ruto had told the nation that the two had not spoken “in months.”
In the campaigns, President Kenyatta mounted a state campaign against Dr Ruto while backing Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition boss Raila Odinga.
“When I was sworn in as your President, I made a pledge to the country, I pledged to uphold the rule of law and decisions made by the Judiciary on all matters of our government. Today, the Supreme Court made a ruling on the presidential dispute upholding the results announced by the IEBC on August 15,” the President said in a recorded address.
He went on: “I commit to executing the orders of the court to the letter. The process of handing over is in progress through the Assumption of Office Committee, which actually begun its work as of August 10. It is my intention to oversee a smooth transition to the next administration and all necessary orders to facilitate this process have already been issued.”
President Kenyatta wished well the next administration.
“I want to wish well all who have won as they guide our country into the future and I thank you all for the opportunity to serve you,” he said.
After his win was upheld, Dr Ruto said: “I will shortly be placing a call to my good friend President Uhuru Kenyatta. I haven’t talked to him in months. I’ll be calling him so that we have a conversation on the process of transition. I know he worked hard but the people of Kenya have made a decision,” Dr Ruto said in his off-the-cuff remarks. He promised that the outgoing Head of State will enjoy a peaceful retirement.
“My administration will recognise in full the now established tradition of honouring our leaders who have served this nation and shall not, in any manner, interfere with their privileges and other entitlements in retirement. They are revered elders of our nation who deserve respect at all times,” the president-elect said in his written speech.
In his speech last night, President Kenyatta asked Kenyans to exercise their civic duty by scrutinising the constitutional institutions. He opined that the decisions of the institutions must be consistent and coherent.
“We must ask ourselves, is it about numbers or is it about process? Which of these two is it? And can an institution rule one way in one election and another way in another election, without scrutiny? I invite you Kenyans to keep vigil and indeed hold all institutions to account,” he said.
President Kenyatta’s 2017 re-election was nullified by the top court over the electoral agency’s failure to comply with the election process.
He further urged the country to respect the institutions that midwife the new leaders and in doing so “I also urge citizens to constantly put them under scrutiny for this is the civic duty of every single Kenyan”.
“This duty requires every citizen to put the truth presented by our constitutional institutions to test and they must test them for coherence and correspondence. They must constantly scrutinise coherence of the truth given by these institutions and ask themselves whether the truth has been coherent from one election to another,” President Kenyatta said.
He also asked Kenyans to scrutinise whether the truth given by institutions has “correspondence”.
“That is, do the truths given by our institutions, correspond with what is observable by citizens? True beliefs and judgments must correspond to the actual state of affairs. But do our constitutional institutions meet this threshold?
“While we must appreciate these institutions, we must hold them to account at every juncture. And the truth has to be consistent and coherent. This is the only way we will build our democracy,” said the President.