NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 9 – Once the Instruments of power are handed over to him during the inauguration ceremony, Uhuru Kenyatta who then takes over the reins as president, will be Kenya’s youngest Head of State at 51.
Uhuru was just a toddler when his father founding President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta took over power from the British 50 years ago and 41 when he took his first stab at the presidency but was trounced by President Mwai Kibaki who took over from Daniel arap Moi in 2002.
As the ceremony marks a transfer of power to a younger generation of leaders, all eyes are on Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto as they have the task of fully implementing the Constitution and leading a government whose ministers will not be Members of Parliament.
Apart from the expected colour of the event, Kenyans are watching to see what he makes the theme of his first speech as president.
Kenyatta began his political career in 2001 when he served as a Minister of Local Government for two years.
Despite his political inexperience, he was favoured by President Daniel Moi as his successor and ran as KANU’s candidate in the December 2002 presidential election, but lost to the then opposition candidate Mwai Kibaki by a large margin.
Following that, he became the leader of the official opposition from 2002 to 2007 after which he has been the deputy Prime Minister since 2008 to this year.
He was also a Member of Parliament for Gatundu South and served as Chairman of KANU which was part of PNU.
He attended St Mary’s School in Nairobi. From there he went on to study political science at Amherst College in the United States.
The inauguration was set to start at about Midday when Kenyatta will take his oaths followed by his Deputy William Ruto.
He will take two oaths, one pledging allegiance to the Constitution and the second will be a solemn affirmation of due execution of office of president.
Outgoing President Mwai Kibaki will then hand over the Instruments of Power and Authority to Kenyatta, which will be followed by fanfare and the National Anthem during which Kibaki’s presidential Standard will be lowered while Kenyatta’s will be hoisted simultaneously.
A 21-gun salute will follow, and Kibaki will be given his Standard by the Chief of Defence Forces.
Ruto will then take his two oaths, after which the Guard of Honour will march off the stadium to be followed by a session of entertainment.
Once the festivities are over, Kibaki will lead the way out and receive Uhuru at State House where a lunch with invited Heads of State will take place.