, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 9 – Fifty-one-year-old Uhuru Kenyatta will go down the annals of history as the fourth President of the Republic of Kenya, after being sworn-in on Tuesday afternoon in a colourful ceremony at the Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani, Nairobi.
While holding the same Bible that his late father and founding President of Kenya used to take oath as Prime Minister in 1963, Kenyatta swore to diligently serve the Kenyan people and to respect, protect and uphold the Constitution.
The Master of Ceremony had a difficult time urging calm from the large exuberant crowd that had braved the morning cold and turned out to watch the momentous occasion to ensure that Kenyatta was inaugurated before the 2pm deadline.
At about 1.25pm, Kenyatta was presented as Kenya’s latest Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces.
“I Uhuru Kenyatta in full realisation of the high calling I assume as President of the Republic of Kenya, do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the Republic of Kenya; that I will obey and preserve and protect and defend this Constitution as by law established and all other laws of the republic and that I will protect and uphold the sovereignty, integrity and dignity of the people of Kenya. So help me God,” he vowed.
Chief Justice Willy Mutunga then presented Kenyatta with the inauguration certificate, after which outgoing president Mwai Kibaki presented him with the instruments of power – a sword signifying Commander in Chief of the Defence Forces, and the Constitution.
For the second time that afternoon, the National Anthem was sang but this time a navy blue presidential Standard with a shield in the middle and a white dove on the side was hoisted to represent the change of guard as retiring President Mwai Kibaki’s white presidential standard was simultaneously lowered.
The excited crowd was on its feet once again, chanting songs of praise and cheering Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto.
But when the 21 gun salute went off, it gave some people quite the fright. White smoke would slowly ascend to the clear blue sky with each shot.
Kenyatta promised to honour all the vows made during the fever pitch campaigns that dominated headlines for about two months.
He also took a swipe at the international community asking them to respect the decisions made by Kenyans.
“I assure you again that under my leadership, Kenya will strive to uphold our international obligations so long as these are founded on the well established principles of mutual respect and reciprocity,” he argued.
Ruto lauded Kenyans for the manner in which they held the elections arguing that they should never turn against each other on account of political competition.
The two leaders also addressed the clear divisions that had reared their ugly heads after the 2013 poll with the duo saying they would work towards bringing everyone on board.
“When Uhuru and I decided to work together it was not because we wanted to win but because we wanted to bring Kenyans together. God enabled us to succeed and He gave us the bonus of winning the election in round one,” noted Ruto.
Kenyatta’s inauguration took less than 15 minutes but even as the hoisting of his presidential standard signified the start on a new five-year command, he will have to fill the big shoes left by his predecessor even as he attempts to slay the twin dragons of tribalism and corruption.
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