The 2013 watch list-What to expect

A group performs at Tononoka grounds in Mombasa on December 12, last year. The same day this year, Kenya will mark 50 years of independence.

The first elections after the enactment of the new Constitution will take place on March 4 this year.

The polls will enable voters to usher in a new Executive and new legislature comprising the national assembly and the 47-member senate.

Kenyans will also elect County Governors and County Assembly representatives as set out in the constitution.

The two main political forces, the Coalition for Reform and Democracy (Cord) and the Jubilee coalition have already picked their presidential candidates and their running mates.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga is the Cord torchbearer with Vice President Kalonzo as his running mate while deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto are the Jubilee coalition’s presidential candidate and running mate respectively.

Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi is set to contest the presidency on the ticket of the united Democratic Forum (UDF). Others in the race include Narc-Kenya presidential candidate Martha Karua, Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth and former Permanent Secretary James Ole Kiyiapi.

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New President to be sworn-in

Kenya’s next president will be sworn in to office at a public function to be presided over by Chief Justice Willy Mutunga or his deputy.

This will be a departure from President Kibaki’s second swearing in which was done in the confines of State House, Nairobi, before a small group of loyalists on December 30, 2007 amid protests from the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), which bitterly disputed the outcome of the presidential election.

According to the constitution, the President shall be sworn in on the first Tuesday, two weeks after the announcement of the results of the presidential election.

This is to give a window to any dissatisfied candidate or party to challenge the outcome of the presidential election in court.

In the event that the results are challenged in court, the president-elect will be sworn into office seven days after the matter is determined.

The President-elect will assume office by taking and subscribing the oath or affirmation of allegiance, and the oath or affirmation for the execution of the functions of office.

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Golden jubilee celebrations

Kenya celebrates its Golden Jubilee on December 12, this year, marking 50 years since it attained independence from the British in 1963.

Significantly, the Golden Jubilee year will also see Kenyans elect their fourth president since independence to succeed President Kibaki who is leaving office after a 10-year reign.

It will also see Kenyans usher in the first devolved government by electing their county governors, senators and county assembly representatives on the March 4.

The chairman of the panel of eminent personalities, Mr Kofi Annan, aptly captured the theme of the Golden Jubilee year, noting that it presented Kenyans with a chance to usher in a fresh beginning.

“2013 is an auspicious year for Kenya, as the country will celebrate the Golden Jubilee of its Independence,” he stated.“Almost 50 years ago, a nation was born. In the same way, the New Year promises its own fresh beginning,” he added.

“On that day, Kenyans will elect those they wish to lead them into the future, as the next 50 years of the nation’s history gets under way. They will have their say on who governs them and how they are governed. Their choice will define and shape the country for future generations,” said Mr Annan.

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ICC cases

Chances of Jubilee Coalition presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta and his running mate, Eldoret North MP William Ruto participating in a run-off have been complicated by the cases facing them at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

This is because the Hague-based court has fixed April 11, as the start date of the crimes against humanity case against Mr Ruto and radio presenter Joshua Sang.

The case against Mr Kenyatta and former head of public service, Mr Francis Muthaura, start a day later, according to the ICC calendar.

Effectively, the trial will start a month after Kenya’s General Election set for March 4, and may complicate chances of Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto effectively participating in a runoff.

Although the runoff will be held before the hearing starts, the swearing-in will take place exactly 14 days after the results are announced, by which time the two politicians will be at the Hague.

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County government

Sh280 billion has been set aside to set off the operations of county governments after the March 4, 2013 General Election.

The money will be mainly used to set up administrative and governance structures that are vital in ensuring that the devolved functions of government start without a hitch.

The money will be sent directly to the accounts of the 47 counties by March 5, according to Finance minister Njeru Githae.

Treasury is setting up a department to spearhead the devolution of funds and oversee their usage and ensure that there is enough staff seconded to the counties from the headquarters, so that operations run smoothly.

The County Governments Public Finance Management Transition Bill 2012 published by Mr Githae empowers the Controller of Budget to approve the release of half of the budget for county governments as prepared by the Transitional Authority.

The Bill will ensure that governors who are elected during the March 4 polls are not starved of funds between March and June next year, if Parliament dissolves before approving the budget for counties.

Under the Bill, the Controller of Budget, Ms Agnes Odhiambo, will authorise release of half of the counties’ budget.

Source:nation.co.ke

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