GASABO - All roads led to Amahoro National Stadium, yesterday morning, as President Paul Kagame took the Oath of Office, a ceremony that on top of the tens of thousands of Rwandans, attracted over a dozen Heads of State.
Kagame, who arrived at the fully packed stadium a few minutes past 10 a.m., attracted a thunderous applause as he made an entrance, shortly after the arrival of foreign dignitaries.
The applause went on for minutes, partly drowning the National Anthem that was sung immediately after the President joined the panel of Supreme Court judges led by Chief Justice, Aloysia Cyanzayire, who administered the oath.
The stadium that was made more colourful by people clad in various colours, and from their sitting patterns, spelled out ‘PAUL KAGAME OYEE’ in the three colours of the National Flag, against a white background.
The event was preceded by prayers from leading clerics including American preacher, Rick Warren, who castigated critics who have time and again prophesized doom for Rwanda.
Pastor Warren, who made it clear that he is Rwandan, said that the country has come a long way, urging the people not to take the country back to its dark past.
The American-born preacher, who led the prayers during the inauguration of US President Barack Obama last year, is a member of President Kagame’s Advisory Council.
Other clerics who graced the event included the Mufti, Sheikh Saleh Habimana and Bishop Smaragde Mbonyintege of Kabgayi Diocese.
After the oath, the President was handed the instruments of power by the Chief Justice, which included the National Constitution, the Flag and the Court of Arms, as the final signal that he had started the seven year term as Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces.
More than 70,000 people attended the event from the stadium, with gigantic screens mounted to cater for the extra tens of thousands who could not find space in stadium.
The proceedings were broadcast live on state television and radio and live streaming via the internet was available to cater mainly for the Diaspora.