How it went down at Kasarani

April 9, 2013 3:12 pm


Kenyans following Uhuru Kenyatta's inauguration/ALI ALALE
Kenyans following Uhuru Kenyatta’s inauguration/ALI ALALE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 9 – Having waited patiently for a month after the elections, tens of thousands Kenyans thronged the Moi International Sports Centre in Kasarani to witness his installation as the country’s fourth president.

Crowds had already congregated at the stadium as early as 5am although the organizers only opened up the gates at 6.30am as planned.

Security was tight as formations from the regular, Administration Police, the General Service Unit, the National Youth Service and the military took charge of the event.

Gates 4 and 5 were a no-go zone for the public as they had been preserved for dignitaries invited, including presidents and heads of delegations from various countries.

Nothing was left to chance as thorough frisking was conducted on all members of the public entering the stadium through the three entry levels.

Inside the stadium, more checks awaited journalists covering the event as the presidential security detail insisted on having bags and equipment inspected by police sniffer dogs.

At about 10.30am the stadium was full to capacity with an estimated 60,000 people forcing security to close entrances and direct the overwhelming human traffic to the Kasarani Gymnasium.

The crowd was kept entertained from early morning by various artistes including Rufftone, Daddy Owen and Emmy Kosgey. Other entertainment was from dance groups and members of the military band Maroon Commandos.

Other members of the public who missed seats in the gymnasium were left to watch the proceedings from big screens mounted outside the stadium.

Traders took the opportunity to sell portraits of Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto as well as the national flag and merchandise branded in colours (Red and Yellow) of parties making the Jubilee coalition.

Kenyatta accompanied by his wife Margaret and children arrived at 11.48am to a thunderous applause by the jubilant and expectant crowd.

He was followed by Mwai Kibaki who arrived at 12.15pm accompanied by some members of his family.

Before he took his seat in the main dais Kibaki inspected his last guard of honor accompanied by Chief of Defence Forces Julius Karangi and parade commander Colonel Jeff Nyaga.

The inauguration was however treated to moments of excess emotion from members of the public who shouted and sang through periods reserved for performances by the military.

The Assumption of the Office of President Act requires that the president is sworn in at a public place between 10am and 2pm.

Military Master of ceremony Gibson Mwandawiro had trouble not once or twice, but on numerous occasions seeking to calm the public so that the ceremony was conducted within the stipulated timelines.

The crowd took jibes at Raila Odinga chanting that the government was now not of halves as the previous grand coalition government and that the time for riddles was gone.

“Sio Nusu ni Nzima. (It is not half, it is whole),” they sang.

The crowd also booed at mentions of Odinga by Uganda’s president Yoweri Museveni who said that the outgoing PM ought to be congratulated for following the due election process and for accepting a Supreme Court decision that went against his petition.

The first inauguration under the new Constitution was attended by 11 sitting presidents, four vice presidents, five prime ministers and two former presidents.

Odinga and former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka both skipped the event.

Kenyatta was officially sworn into office shortly after 1pm, before he was handed over instruments of power by retiring president Kibaki.

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