New dawn for President-elect and his deputy
Whereas the victory of the Jubilee flag bearer Uhuru Kenyatta is good news to his supporters, the experience is total transformation for his life from the moment he was declared winner.
In a flicker of the minute Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission chairman Issack Hassan declared him President-elect, his life completely changed given the new status.
Security was beefed up immediately he was declared the winner. Friends and politicians who had initially worked closely with him had to be pushed away to pave the way for the Head of State security detail. The security drawn from the Recce Unit of the General Service Unit, were waiting at the Bomas of Kenya.
Chairman of the Committee of Assumption of the Office of the President Francis Kimemia earlier indicated deliberate programmes to have the new President enjoy security had already been prepared a month ago.
And indeed the moment it became apparent that Uhuru was in the lead and had garnered more than 50 per cent of the total votes cast, detailed security was provided to him. Equally served with the security was his deputy William Ruto who will have more than 60 security officers.
The Elite officers from General Service Unit (GSU) trained on the VIP security yesterday cordoned the Catholic University of East Africa (CUEA) media centre in Nairobi where the two and other Jubilee leaders were. Many other officers were deployed to man the residences of both leaders in Uhuru’s residence along the State House road and Ruto’s Karen home.
By on Saturday, it was expected that Uhuru would have about 200 security officers taking care of him. That would include the Presidential Escort Unit that would guard him and his family and all his residences.
All this will ensure that the President-elect’s life changes completely meaning that he can no longer drive down town to visit a friend, or the local restaurant for a drink privately.
According to a State House official currently working with President Kibaki, the moment Uhuru was declared the President-elect, his life seized to be private and every move he would make in his position would be planned and well thought out.
“Even attending the parents’ day for his children will have to be planned, his day to day duties will be organised for him and nothing will be impromptu. There will be limited use of cell phones. It is going to be a very official life for him,” said the official.
Uhuru is expected to be sworn in on March 26, according to a programme being prepared by the Committee of Assumption of the Office of the President. The law stipulates that the President be sworn in before the Chief Justice or in the absence of the CJ, his deputy.
The plans are being carried out in accordance with Section 9 of the Assumption of the Office of the President Act, 2012, which states: “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, the Committee shall ensure that the President-elect and Deputy President-elect are accorded adequate security.”
He said the President’s calendar is always determined several days of weeks in advance.
Wherever he will be moving across the country, his security detail will be augmented by police from the regions he goes to.
According to a doctor who has worked at the State House, the President has to go through a health check up every day in the morning and the State House has a team of doctors that ensure he is in good health.
“There has to be a check up for the President every day. There are those who will ensure that he eats what is only safe. It is not that easy and nothing is taking for granted because the health of the Head of State affects the country,” said the doctor. Many of his personal friends and those who were involved in his presidential campaign will henceforth find it difficult to access him because the security detail and presidential assistants will be the ones to determine who sees the President. Life does not change for Uhuru alone. His family too will experience the difference because his wife and the children will be on guard 24hours of the day by the Presidential Elite Squad from GSU.
Equally, in for transformation will be Deputy President- elect William Ruto and his family. It is not yet clear if Ruto will move from his house in Karen to the new Vice-President’s residence a kilometre away from his residence.
According to Dr Atwoli Lukoye, a lecture at Moi University and a political analyst, the two will experience a dramatic life change.
He said the victory for Uhuru opened him to a lot of responsibilities because now he carried the aspirations of 40 million Kenyans whether they voted for him or not.
“It is a huge responsibility and that when it dawns on him, he will need people around him that he can confide in,” said Lukoye.
He said the President-elect will be expected to get security briefings, get in touch with leaders of other countries, and make hard decisions and that requires that he should have people he can lean on and can open up to when the pressure is high.
Unfortunately for Uhuru, according to Dr Lukoye, he will be forced by circumstances to shed many of his friends as he acquires others that would help him run the government just like any other new President.