African leaders stand by Uhuru

Kenya, yesterday, witnessed second transfer of power as Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta was sworn-in as the country’s fourth president, in an event held at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, Nairobi.
President Paul Kagame (L) congratulates new Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta after the inauguration yesterday.  Courtesy photo
President Paul Kagame (L) congratulates new Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta after the inauguration yesterday. Courtesy photo

Kenya, yesterday, witnessed second transfer of power as Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta was sworn-in as the country’s fourth president, in an event held at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, Nairobi.

Kenyatta won the March 4 Kenya presidential elections with 50.07 per cent of total votes ahead of his arch rival, outgoing Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

Kenyatta’s running mate William Ruto was also sworn in as the deputy president.

President Paul Kagame was among the several Heads of State and Government that graced the inauguration, also attended by Rev. Jesse Jackson, the US civil rights activist.

The ceremony, described by many as a mature way of transferring power, was graced by 15 African presidents, including two former Heads of State and special envoys.

Kenyatta was sworn in using the Bible that was once used by his father Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya’s founding President, in 1963.

Delivering his inaugural speech, Kenyatta pledged to strengthen regional trade by eliminating non tariff barriers and advancing integration process.

 “I will respect the Kenya’s role as a democratic nation and champion the rights of every Kenyan to speak their mind free of fear of reprisal or condemnation,” he said.

Kenyatta promised to strengthen among others education, health, and security and governance system in Kenya.

He also paid tribute to former presidents of Kenya.

“Our nation has now successfully navigated the most complex general election in our history. We are working towards a permanent peace, through which democracy is glorified rather than undermined.”

The incoming Kenyan President pledged to work together with African nations and as well as the global world to uphold the well-established principles of mutual respect and reciprocity.
Odinga, who failed in his court bid to overturn Kenyatta's victory, did not attend.

After handing over power, Kibaki said Kenya has a dynamic duo of Uhuru and Ruto that will take the country to greater heights.

“I bid you farewell after a long and fruitful 50 years of public service. Our region holds much promise for our people. Let us embrace regional integration,” he said.

Museveni on ICC

Meanwhile, Ugandan President Yoweri  Museveni, who was the key note speaker, criticised the credibility and motive of the international court.

“I want to salute the Kenyan voters for the rejection of the blackmail by the ICC and those who seek to abuse this institution for their own agenda. I was one of those that supported the ICC because I abhor impunity,” he said in apparent referenace to the controversial indictment of Kenyatta and Ruto on charges related to the post-election violence in 2008.

“The usual opinionated and arrogant actors using their careless analysis have distorted the purpose of that institution and are now using it to install leaders of their choice in Africa and eliminate the ones they do not like,” Museveni said.

Kenyatta and Ruto face crimes against humanity charges before ICC over their alleged role in planning the 2007-2008 post-election violence.

Museveni said a legal process, especially an external one, cannot address domestic violence, saying Kenyan actors are the ones best qualified to sit and delve into their history and discover what their society needs.

He said Uganda, between 1966 and 1986, lost about 800,000 people killed by the leaders who were in charge of the country, but never sought any external assistance.

He saluted the Kenyan media for not inciting violence and hailed the maturity Kenyan politicians demonstrated during the electoral process and the outcome.

“Africa is proud of Kenya for having conducted peaceful elections.  The East African Community has enormous resources such as oil and gas, we should exploit these resources in a good way and let’s grow our economies to fight poverty,” the Ugandan Head of State said.

In 1978, former President Daniel-arap Moi was sworn in as President after the death of Jomo Kenyatta, Uhuru’s father. 

The first hand-over ceremony was witnessed on December 30, 2002, when Moi handed over to Mwai Kibaki.

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