President Uhuru Kenyatta used his first address to the 12th Parliament to declare that there is no power vacuum in the country. Even as Kenyans wait to go for the October 17 fresh presidential election, Uhuru said the presidency remains intact until the swearing in of the winner of the election.
“There is no power vacuum, the president remains in office until the next one is sworn in,” said Uhuru, in apparent reference to claims by the Opposition that his term had expired. He said nobody should envision a vacuum in the country’ governance, as all the three arms of government are firmly in place and operational. Uhuru warned those who may want to take advantage of the current situation to disrupt the country’s peace that the law would take its course.
“No matter the political noises that are loudest during elections, I want to assure every Kenyan, and the world, and the world, every arm of government is in place and operational.
There is no void and there is no lacuna; Kenya is progressing along the path drawn by the Constitution. I would like to make it abundantly clear that the government will not tolerate anyone intent on disrupting our hard-won peace and stability,” said the President.
The President was making his address to a joint Senate and National Assembly sitting as he presided over the opening of the 12th Parliament. However, the session was skipped by Nasa members who, instead, chose to hold a rally in Kibera, accompanying presidential candidate Raila Odinga.
Only Webuye West MP Alfred Sambu (ANC) was present from the Nasa ranks. Sambu later said he was elected to represent his constituents and skipping could have meant disobeying the electorate.
The Judiciary top brass was also conspicuously absent from the VIP gallery, including Chief Justice David Maraga. Reacting to the move, Clerk of the National Assembly Michael Sialai, said it was the first time in the history of the Commonwealth that the Judiciary was not represented during the opening of Parliament. But the session was well attended by members of the diplomatic corps.
Uhuru reiterated his disappointment with the Supreme Court ruling that rescinded his victory in the August 8 General Election, adding that he respected the decision despite disagreeing with it. He spent a good potion of his 30-minute speech to explain that he was bound by the ruling as he had great respect for the Constitution.
“Even though I strongly disagreed with that decision, I accepted it because of my respect for Constitution. I have previously demonstrated this fidelity to the best interests of Kenyans, as happened when I conceded the loss of an election in 2002.
You will also recall I heeded the summons from a foreign court even though I knew I was answering trumped-up charges,” said Uhuru. He told Kenyans not to allow the election to become a threat to peace and security: “Our region, and indeed the world, through history, is littered with broken, miserable countries who failed to draw the distinction between vibrant democratic competition and destructive division.
In this regard, I urge all political leaders to avoid engaging in divisive and destructive politics that have no place in modern Kenya,” he added. Uhuru reminded Kenyans the fresh election will not be a choice between him and Raila but a transfer of the people’s sovereign will to an office that is the symbol of national unity; that protects security, and is key to delivering development and prosperity.
Still on the court ruling, Uhuru said the choice of Kenyans through the ballot must be respected: “It must be understood the marked ballot represents more than technology, more than computer systems or even where it was printed. The mark is the choice of a sovereign people.
Their choice is sacred and must never be frustrated or ignored,” said Uhuru. Uhuru emphasised on the need to protect the independence of the three arms of government. “They are supposed to be free from intimidation or control by any foreign or domestic actors, and special interest groups.
Every Kenyan official who serves in them must be constantly on the lookout for any actions that undermine their independence. And they should understand undertaking the sacred task Kenyans have given them requires they constantly remember, and affirm, in word and deed, that the people are sovereign,” he said.
He added: “No technicality, no conference, no process, no power or influence, should ever stand in the way of that sovereign will.” He called on Kenyans to stay united even as he challenged Members of Parliament to work towards the achievement of the aspirations of Kenyans.
“The success of our nation is the love that each and every one of our people has for this country. Yes, we must love Kenya. This august House must stand for that unity and must rise to the promises we have made to the people of this great nation.