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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Uhuru has 26 days off to convene first sitting of MPs, Senators

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto hold their certificates after IEBC announced them winner of the presidential election, August 11, 2017. /MONICAH MWANGI
President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto hold their certificates after IEBC announced them winner of the presidential election, August 11, 2017. /MONICAH MWANGI

President Uhuru Kenyatta, who won a second term, has 26 days off to convene the first sitting of Parliament.

The Constitution gives the president sweeping powers to decide when the bicameral House can hold its inaugural sitting after the general election.

According to the Constitution, the President must publish the appointed date in the official Kenya gazette.

The Constitution requires that the first sitting of Parliament be held within 30 days of the election, this means that the deadline is September 8.

Meanwhile, IEBC chair Wafula Chebukati has 14 days after the election within which to publish names of elected and nominated political leaders to pave way for their swearing in.

This means that August 22 is the deadline.

Uhuru and DP William Ruto were gazetted in a special issue of the Kenya gazette on Saturday after IEBC declared them winners of the August 8 presidential election.

Read: Leaders congratulate Uhuru as IEBC gazettes re-election

IEBC will publish the names of 47 governors and their deputies, as well as 47 senators elected at the polls, giving them the green light to assume office. Also to be gazetted are nominated MPs, Senators and MCAs.

The commission will also publish the names of 47 women representatives to sit in the National Assembly, and 289 members of the National Assembly.

The Kitutu Chache South election was postponed following the death of the Jubilee candidate a few days to polls.

Some 1,450 County Assembly Ward representatives will also be gazetted.

"Whenever a new House is elected, the President, by notice in the Kenya gazette, shall appoint the place and date for the first sitting of the new House, which shall be not more than thirty days after the election," reads Article 126 (2) of the Constitution.

This means that Uhuru has until September 8 to have the House hold its maiden sitting for swearing in of MPs and for election of respective House Speakers.

The date coincides with the last day within which the president-elect must be sworn into office in case of an unsuccessful petition challenging the presidential results.

The framers of the Constitution contemplated a situation where the President-elect may illegally convene the House while at the same time facing an election petition.

The Presidential election stand validated only by the Supreme Court upon the dismissal of a petition challenging the election of president.

During the first sitting the National Assembly shall elect the House Speaker so will Senators choose theirs before they are sworn into office.

The two speakers, upon election, shall preside over the swearing in of the MPs in which they shall take the oath of office.

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