PM Raila Odinga begins to vacate his office

OUTGOING Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka have started clearing out their offices in Shell BP House and Jogoo House. Top aides of both Raila and Kalonzo confirmed that the two are finalising matters with government institutions.

Head of Public Service Francis Kimemia had directed that they hand over before Tuesday’s swearing in of Uhuru Kenyatta as the country’s fourth president. The two will cease to be government officials after the swearing in.

“What I can tell you for now is that the PM is doing the necessary exit clearance with the relevant government offices such the Parliament among others,” said an official at Raila’s office.

“Someone of his stature in society does not need to be told what to do.This is a period of transition. If I have already started planning for myself, what of my boss?” said an official at Kalonzo’s office.

They will hand over their offices and other assets to the Public Service Commission for auditing. They will then be transferred to the incoming Uhuru administration.

They will also be required to surrender press equipment, such as still and video cameras and microphones that their press units have been using. The police department will scale down their security but it is not clear to what level. As PM, Raila had a permanent security detail of at least eight GSU officers led by a chief inspector. There were additional police at his homes in Bondo and Nairobi.

“Considering that Prime Minister Raila Odinga was the co-principal in the grand coalition government, he had nearly the same security detail as the president. But now that the new government is to be sworn in next week, their security detail will have to be restructured,” said an official at the OP.

Raila and Kalonzo will lose the five vehicles that were assigned to them plus security for their spouses, Ida Odinga and Pauline Kalonzo. They will be able to retain their bodyguards at the discretion of the Inspector General of Police and as long as they can afford to pay for them.

Civil servants in the PM’s and VP’s offices will be redeployed by the PSC. Ruto will be able to move into the newly completed residence for the Deputy President in Karen any day after Tuesday’s swearing in.

Kalonzo had not moved into the VP’s residence but had been using it for some official functions. He also used the office annex as a support office for his campaigns. The Wiper party headquarters are in Lavington.

Yesterday, government spokesman Muthui Kariuki said that Raila and Kalonzo will continue to enjoy their privileges until the Jubilee government is sworn in. “They remain in office with all their privileges until the next president is sworn in,” he said.

In January this year President Kibaki rejected a bill that would have seen Raila and Kalonzo enjoy various benefits in retirement. Kibaki was reluctant to sign it because of the apparently over-generous send-off package for outgoing MPs.

The Retirement Benefits (Deputy President and Designated State Officers) Bill would have given Raila and Kalonzo one armed bodyguard each; two  state-owned vehicles, one 2,000 car and one 4WD 3,000c car, both replaceable every four years; diplomatic passports; and access to VIP lounges at airports.

The law does not specifically provide for pensions for the outgoing Vice-President and Prime Minister. Both men will miss out on the retirement perks unless the bill is reintroduced in the current Parliament. Last week Gwassi MP John Mbadi said he would lobby his parliamentary colleagues to reintroduce the bill.

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