President Uhuru Kenyatta has appointed William Ruto as Acting President for the duration he will be away attending his case at the International Criminal Court.
President Kenyatta made the unprecedented announcement during an address to a special session of Parliament on Monday.
He said he will revoke Article 147, section 3, to appoint Mr Ruto as Acting President while he attends the ICC status conference next week at the Hague.
The article states: Subject to Article 134, when the President is absent or is temporarily incapacitated, and during any other period that the President decides, the Deputy President shall act as the President.
The decision means President Kenyatta will attend the status conference in an individual capacity and not as the head of state.
President Kenyatta explained that the decision to hand power to his deputy is meant to ensure that the sovereignty and democratic will of Kenyans will not be subjected to a foreign jurisdiction.
In the hard hitting address, President Kenyatta faulted ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda for accusing the Kenyan government of not according her sufficient co-operation in the case.
“My conscience is clear, has been clear and will always be clear that I am innocent of all accusations levelled against me. The prosecutor has admitted that the available evidence is unable to prove criminal responsibility.
“I expected the matter to be dropped for lack of evidence. Instead, the prosecutor asked for an extension and blamed the government of not co-operating,” said Mr Kenyatta.
After the address at Parliament, President Kenyatta walked to his Harambee house office where he formally transferred power to his deputy.
He emerged minutes later and left in a private vehicle without his Aide de Camp (ADC).
The Presidential motorcade was handed over to William Ruto.
Earlier, the President had met Kenya’s top security organ on Monday morning, before meeting Cabinet secretaries in the afternoon.