Mixed feelings on Uhuru’s last Madaraka Day

Uhuru Kenyatta

President Uhuru Kenyatta lighting the Eternal Flame during the commissioning of Uhuru Gardens National Monument and Museum on May 31, 2022. 

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

 President Kenyatta will this morning preside over his last state function when he leads the nation in this year’s Madaraka Day celebrations at Uhuru Gardens, Nairobi.

With less than 70 days to the General Election in August and having served his two terms at the helm, President Kenyatta will not have a chance to lead the country in another state event if the elections produce a winner in the first round.

However, several issues could allow President Kenyatta more time in charge after the August 9 polls. One is if a candidate dies after being cleared by Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), which would require the postponement of the polls by a further 60 days.

The law requires that every candidate and their running mates be accorded round-the-clock security from the date of clearance by IEBC to the conclusion of the polls. Under this circumstance, the process might drag on until October 20 when Mashujaa Day will be taking place.

Secondly, should the presidential election be challenged at the Supreme Court and invalidated, the Wafula Chebukati-led IEBC will be required to hold a fresh election within 60 days after the determination.

A similar scenario can also happen in case the presidential candidates fail to garner the constitutional threshold of 50 percent plus one vote. IEBC will be forced to call for a run-off after 60 days.

A candidate wins in the first round if they get 50 per cent of the vote, plus a single vote.

Yesterday, politicians from both Mr Raila Odinga’s Azimio La Umoja One Kenya Coalition and Deputy President William Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza Alliance (KKA) had mixed reactions over what they expect from President Kenyatta’s last national address.

Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Muriithi, who is also the chair of Mr Odinga’s presidential campaign board, expects that, apart from outlining his score card, he would give political direction on who is suitable to succeed him.

“I expect President Kenyatta to outline his scorecard and give hope for the future. We do not want a regime that will disrupt what has been achieved but one that will continue with the work which has been done,” said Governor Muriithi.

Jubilee Director of Elections and Kieni MP Kanini Kega said it will be the opportunity for President Kenyatta to rally the country for peaceful elections.

Lugari MP Ayub Savula, the deputy leader of the Democratic Alliance Party of Kenya (DAP-K) said the Head of State should reaffirm his preferred successor who will protect his legacy.

Keiyo South MP Daniel Rono, an ardent ally of Dr Ruto, said the President should commit to provide a level playground for all presidential aspirants instead of taking sides. President Kenyatta is the chairperson of Azimio council, its highest decision making organ, with Mr Odinga as the party leader.

The head of DP Ruto’s presidential campaign, Narok Governor Josphat Nanok said the President should allow Kenyans to decide who will be their fifth president.