Friday, 22 March 2013

Protocol slip-up ahead of Kibaki KDF farewell

President Kibaki with Chief of Defence Forces General Julius Karangi (third right). PHOTO / FILE
President Kibaki with Chief of Defence Forces General Julius Karangi (third right). PHOTO / FILE 
Posted  Friday, March 22  2013 at  00:00

State House has found itself in an awkward situation after being forced to turn to a “former” minister to welcome President Kibaki to an official function set for Friday.A statement from the Presidential Press Service sent to newsrooms last evening indicated that “former” Defence minister Yusuf Haji would receive President Kibaki at the Moi Air Base in Nairobi where he is scheduled to preside over a farewell parade mounted by the Kenya Defence Forces in his honour.“On arrival, the President, who is the Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces, will be received by former minister of State for Defence/Senator-elect Yusuf Haji and Chief of the Defence Forces General J.W. Karangi,” read the statement.On Tuesday, a statement from Public Service boss Francis Kimemia but attributed to the President directed that 22 ministers and 19 assistant ministers elected to various offices during the March 4 election, including Mr Haji, resign with immediate effect.

Mr Haji was elected Garissa Senator and according to the directive, falls in the group of ministers who were expected to resign immediately to take up their new jobs.If the directive was to be complied with strictly, State House would have had no business asking Mr Haji to receive the President at the military function since he would be deemed to have ceased holding the Defence portfolio.Prime Minister Raila Odinga has since contradicted the directive, saying there is no constitutional requirement for ministers to quit immediately.
“The status and tenure of the President, Prime Minister, Vice-President, Cabinet ministers and assistant ministers is governed by Section 12 of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution and the National Accord and Reconciliation Act,” Mr Odinga said.

After 10 years as the Commander-in-Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces, President Kibaki is set to witness a military show mounted as farewell in his honour.The President is due to hand over power following a peaceful election, and it is expected the ceremony in which he will inspect a guard of honour will be his last.Officers conversant with the day’s activities told the Nation that the military show set for the President would be the kind seen only during national holidays.“The Kenya Defence Forces will hold a farewell ceremony in honour of the outgoing Commander in Chief of the Defence Forces,” according to a statement issued by the Defence ministry.Air Force jets are expected to fly past the presidential dais.

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