, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 9 – Mwai Kibaki has handed over the mantle of the country’s leadership to his successor President Uhuru Kenyatta at a colourful ceremony that was attended by several leaders from Africa and beyond.
Outgoing President Kibaki said he was confident that he was leaving the country in good and able hands of his successor Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto.
“In the leadership of President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto, Kenya has a dynamic duo,” said the former president.
While delivering his valedictory speech at the Moi International Sports Complex in Kasarani Nairobi, Kibaki said the innovation, energy, determination and hard work that President Kenyatta and his deputy exhibited during the presidential election campaign will be evident in their running of government affairs.
Outgoing President Kibaki urged Kenyans and the international community to give President Kenyatta and Deputy President Ruto the space and support to enable them exercise their presidential mandate effectively.
“I wholeheartedly congratulate His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta, on his assumption of office as President of the Republic of Kenya, and Commander-in-Chief of our Defence Forces. In equal measure I congratulate our new Deputy President, His Excellency William Ruto,” outgoing President Kibaki said.
The immediate former president also saluted the millions of Kenyans who came out to vote peacefully, sending a clear message that the country’s democracy has come of age.
Said the immediate former President: “Today, we celebrate our democratic gains. The smooth transition we are experiencing today is the product of the many institutional reforms that we have entrenched in our country.”
Bidding farewell to all Kenyans after a long and rewarding 50 years of public service, outgoing President Kibaki thanked God for his guidance and protection throughout this period.
The immediate former president also thanked the public for supporting and encouraging him, saying they played a crucial role in transforming the country to what it is today.
“Together, we have travelled along the path of transforming our nation. Today, our children have access to education, millions more homes have clean water, our villages and towns are powered by electricity, the goods and services that we produce, are finding their way to markets, because of better roads,” the immediate former president said.
He added: “Because of your hard work and determination, we are on the path to achieving not just the political freedom that our founding fathers envisaged but economic independence that has been made possible because of the taxes you pay.”
Outgoing President Kibaki also pointed out that today Kenya prides itself in a modern Constitution that has entrenched devolution and because of interventions like the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), Kenyans at the grassroots are making decisions about their development priorities.
The immediate former president also thanked the various leaders he had the privilege of working with over the years.
He, particularly, saluted the nation’s founding father Mzee Jomo Kenyatta for the opportunity he provided him to manage the finances of the nation and retired President Daniel arap Moi whom he served as vice-president for 10 years.
Outgoing President Kibaki, at the same time, hailed the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) and the Government of National Unity that formed the foundation of his presidency.
He also acknowledged the Grand Coalition Government that he successfully steered with former Prime Minister Raila Odinga and former Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka.
“I thank the many other leaders in the political, religious, private and public sectors whom I have worked with to reform our country. Above all I salute and thank the Kenyan people for their resilience,” outgoing President Kibaki said.
The outgoing Head of State appreciated role played by all taxpayers in ensuring that the government has adequate funds to fund the transformational agenda.
He acknowledged the country’s development partners as true friends whose support has been critical in the nation’s development agenda.
The outgoing President also took the opportunity to thank his wife immediate former First Lady Mama Lucy Kibaki and his entire family for their unwavering support over the years.
On integration, the immediate former president urged Kenyans to fully embrace regional integration, saying the country has a strong and dynamic youthful population who see themselves as global citizens and should be
supported to unleash their full potential.
On devolution, the outgoing president observed that devolution is here to stay but it must never be used to balkanize the nation.
Said the immediate former Head of State: “We all belong to one united state Kenya, under one national government and 47 county governments. You must all work for the greater good of our nation.”
Outgoing President Kibaki, once again, wished President Kenyatta, Deputy President Ruto and the entire leadership at the national and county levels the very best as they serve the people of the Republic of Kenya.
On his part, incoming President Kenyatta acknowledged his predecessor former President Kibaki’s distinguished 10 year service which laid the foundation for the future prosperity of the country.
President Kenyatta also paid glowing tribute to former President Daniel arap Moi for his years of leadership and dedication to the nation.
During the momentous occasion, President Kenyatta outlined his government’s development blueprint and service to Kenyans.
Deputy President Ruto and Uganda’s President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni also gave speeches during the inauguration ceremony.
In attendance were former President Moi, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, President Ismael Omar Guelleh of Djibouti, Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, Sheikh Mahmud of Somalia, Salva Kiir of South Sudan, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Jacob Zuma of South Africa and Paul Kagame of Rwanda.
Others were President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria, Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon, Joseph Kabila of DRC, Prime Minister Abdelilah Benikirane of Morocco, Prime Minister Abelmalek Sellal of Algeria and his Egypt counterpart Dr Hisham Kandil among other dignitaries.
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