Deputy President William Ruto will today seek clearance from the electoral commission for his first shot at the presidency. He will be aiming to break new records; becoming the first person to be elected president the first time he runs and the first deputy president to succeed his boss after an election.
The only deputy who succeeded his boss was Vice President Daniel Moi, who took over after President Jomo Kenyatta’s death in 1978. There was no election.
Deputy President William Ruto is set to stage a major political lap in the capital city by holding a series of rallies after clearance by the electoral commission.
The political display will mark his official entry into President Uhuru Kenyatta’s succession race.
Dr Ruto is scheduled to appear before the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.
Dubbed “Paint Nairobi Yellow”, the DP will make seven stopovers to address his supporters before holding a major political rally at the historic Kamukunji Grounds.
According to the plan, Dr Ruto will be at the Bomas of Kenya at 10am for the clearance before starting off a political procession that will have its first stop in South C. The Kenya Kwanza brigade will proceed to South B for another stopover, before having another brief rally at Mukuru.
The convoy will snake through to the City Stadium for another roadside address before proceeding to Gikomba and Majengo and finally staging a major rally at the Kamukunji Grounds.
When he officially becomes a candidate, few things will change. He will from today cease using government vehicles in criss-crossing the country while drumming up support for his State House bid. He has also abandoned plans to form a parallel voting tally.
Yesterday, DP Ruto's director of communication Emmanuel Talam told Saturday Nation that although the DP will stop using government vehicles in his campaigns, that will not stop him from remaining the country’s second in command. “But he will not cease being Deputy President. DP will leave office when someone else is elected to the office,” said Mr Talam.
DP Ruto’s presidential campaign director general Josphat Nanok says that after being cleared this morning to vie for president, the DP will only enjoy presidential security but will not use government vehicles.
“The DP has been using his personal vehicles in his campaign and will continue doing so. As the substantive DP and principal assistant to the current President, he still enjoys the privileges of presidential security protection,” he said.
Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa said, “The law does not allow him to resign when he is vying for presidency, but he will no longer use state vehicles. We will use our personal ones because once he is officially a candidate, we will surrender all government cars.”
Last week, IEBC chairperson Wafula Chebukati directed that government vehicles and other state resources illegally deployed by politicians in campaigns be impounded. He also ordered governors, deputy governors, members of Parliament and members of county assemblies (MCAs) to provide an inventory of resources at their disposal by virtue of their positions.
“A member of the commission, any person designated by the Commission or any authorised agency shall have the power to impound or to order the impounding of any state resources that are unlawfully used in an election campaign,” said Mr Chebukati in a public notice.
Section 14(3) of the Election Offences Act, 2016, empowers the IEBC to write to any aspirant who is a sitting MP, governor, deputy governor or MCA to state the facilities attached to them or any equipment normally in the custody of the candidates by virtue of their office. The provision also applies to an employee of a statutory corporation or of a company in which the government owns a controlling interest.
Mr Ruto has also walked back on his initial plan to set up a parallel tallying to keep in check the transmission of results from polling stations to the election headquarters in the August 9 polls.
Yesterday, DP Ruto’s camp said it has no plans now to constitute such a centre, saying it will only rely on its agents to tabulate their results from different polling stations. According to Mr Nanok, the team will have as many agents as possible in all the polling stations to protect their votes.
“We have no plans of setting up a parallel tallying centre. We have no plans at all. Constitutionally, the IEBC is supposed to tally and announce official results,” said Governor Nanok. “There are three levels of announcing presidential votes in the law we have now. The first is counting and announcing results at the polling centre, that is an IEBC officer will be doing it and it is official and it will be available to any stakeholder, including the media.”
Mr Nanok says they plan to tabulate results that have been announced at polling centres by IEBC officials and that should not be misconstrued as a parallel tallying centre.
“What will be doing is tabulating results from our polling agents. We will have agents in over 50,000 polling stations and also 24,000 polling centres. Ours will be to recheck because we have a duty to make sure what IEBC is posting is equal to what has been announced at the polling centre and the constituency tallying centre,” he explained.
“The second level of announcement IEBC is going to make is the tallying at the constituency level. They will be announcing who has won presidential votes in that particular constituency and it is final. What will be sent to the national tally, is a scanned copy of the tally form,” he added.
Already, the number of polling stations for the August election has increased to 52,481 as the electoral commission seeks to ensure more Kenyans turn out to vote.
Mr Barasa underscored Mr Nanok’s sentiments, saying they will guard their votes at the grassroots until the tallying is done.
“Our agents won’t leave the polling centres before, during or after voting. They shall stay throughout until the tallying is done,” he said.
United Democratic Alliance (UDA) chairman Johnson Muthama also confirmed to Saturday Nation that they will primarily rely on agents to know how they have performed in all polling centres.
“We believe in our agents who will be stationed at polling centres because, according to the law, that is where the votes should be counted and announced.”
Keiyo South MP Daniel Rono, another Ruto ally, yesterday said they have decided to forgo the tallying centre to allow supporters to be at every polling station in cooperation with the agents who will have been hired.
“We decided to guard and protect our votes on the ground. We are going to have agents in every polling station,” said Mr Rono
However, some sources within DP Ruto’s circle yesterday intimated to Saturday Nation that a parallel tallying centre might still be set up at either his Karen residence or the new UDA offices on Ngong Road.
“The issue of a parallel tallying centre should not be magnified and that is why no one is willing to give the right position on its establishment. The boss (DP Ruto) does not want the public and government to know that there is such a plan. Indeed, it might be set up at Ruto’s Karen home or our new offices,” said the source.
Addressing Kenyans in the UK in March, the DP said they would put in place measures to protect their votes, despite having raised the alarm over an alleged plot to rig the election while in the US leg of his tour abroad.
Kakamega Senator Cleophas Malala said their parallel tallying centre will detect any changes in votes during their transmission from polling stations to the election headquarters.