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Countdown to President Kenyatta’s inauguration for second term

Unlike in 2013, there will be no handing over of the instruments of power/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 27 – All is set for the inauguration of President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy President William Ruto at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on Tuesday.

Gates to the facility will be opened as early as 4am to allow members of the public attending the ceremony time to settle down inside the sports complex.

Organizers of the inauguration Monday told the press that members of the public will be required to be seated by 9am to pave way for the arrival of foreign delegations.

According to the Principal Secretary in the Interior ministry Karanja Kibicho, President Kenyatta and his deputy Ruto will arrive at the inauguration grounds shortly before 10am.

“We want the function to start at 10am,” Kibicho stated while clarifying that members of the public do not need invitation cards to attend the function.

“This is a time-bound function because the swearing-in has to be conducted between 10am and 2pm and so we shall be very strict on time,” Kibicho explained at a joint media briefing with his Foreign Affairs counterpart Ambassador Monica Juma.

He said security around the venue will remain tight to safeguard the safety of visiting dignitaries and an estimated 100,000 members of the public attending the inauguration.

At the time of the briefing, 43 foreign delegations had confirmed their attendance at the event according to Ambassador Juma.

“We’ve received a lot of commendations and congratulatory messages from across the world. We’re still receiving confirmations of itinerary but I can confirm 43 delegations have so far confirmed attendance,” she said.

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs had last week indicated that some 20 foreign leaders would attend President Kenyatta’s inauguration.

A spot-check by Capital FM News at the Kasarani sports complex showed at least 15 flags of different foreign nations had been hoisted inside the stadium including that of the People’s Republic of China and the State of Israel.

Flags of Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania were also among those hoisted inside the arena.

Last week, the Israel Times published a story indicating that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be in Nairobi for the inauguration.

Netanyahu last visited Kenya in July 2016 during which tour he held bilateral discussions with President Kenyatta at State House, Nairobi.

Leaders who will be arriving in the country Monday evening and Tuesday morning are Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni and Ethiopia Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.

President John Magufuli of Tanzania is also expected.

Other leaders expected to grace the swearing-in fete include Zambia’s Edgar Lungu, Botswana’s Ian Khama, Ismaïl Omar Guelleh of Djibouti, Faure Gnassingbé of Togo, Namibia’s Hage Geingob and Mohamed Farmajo of Somalia.

Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is expected to represent President Muhammadu Buhari who has been avoiding f9oreign travel since his return in the West African nation in August this year after three months of medical leave in the United Kingdom.

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Burundi’s Pierre Nkurunziza is also expected to dispatch his second in command.

Prior their press briefing, Kibicho and Ambassador Juma led the committee in charge of President Kenyatta’s assumption of office in finalizing preparations for the presidential inauguration.

Judiciary Chief Registrar Anne Amadi administered a mock oath to two people who posed as President and Deputy President respectively during a rehearsal conducted at the sports stadium Monday morning.

The military also conducted a parade consisting of the army, air force, and Navy regiments.

Different entertainment groups including Rwandese cultural dancers were among performers rehearsing for the event.

President Kenyatta was cleared for inauguration Monday last week when the Supreme Court in a unanimous decision dismissed to petitions challenging his re-election during an election conducted on October 26.

The October 26 election was ordered following a nullification of the August 8 presidential election by the same court on September 1 after a successful petition by main opposition candidate, National Super Alliance’s Raila Odinga and his running mate Kalonzo Musyoka.

The two announced their boycott of the fresh election on October 10 paving way for President Kenyatta landslide victory of 98.26 per cent representing 7.4 million votes.

Kenyatta had garnered 8.2 million votes (54.27 percent) in the August poll.

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