President Uhuru Kenyatta today took his oath of office amid thunderous cheers from thousands of Kenyans and foreign dignitaries who gathered at the Kasarani Sports Complex to witness the landmark event.
The President swore by the same bible that was used by founding President Jomo Kenyatta when Kenya attained independence. The President, who took the oath office together with his deputy William Ruto, received a 21 gun salute from the Kenya Defence Forces as more than 60,000 people attending the event cheered. The President first took the oath of allegiance before taking the oath of due execution of the function of the office of the President. After taking the oaths, which was presided over by Chief Justice David Maraga and administered by the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary Anne Amadi, the President appended his signature on the two documents together with the certificate of inauguration. The President’s swearing in was followed by that of the Deputy President who was greeted with chants of “2022” by the cheering Kenyans. After the official swearing in ceremony, President Kenyatta read a speech whose theme was unity and optimism. The speech also included the President’s vision for the next five years. “The path to a better future is unity. I believe that we can build a nation in which we live in peace with our brothers and sisters — whatever part of the country they come from, whichever way we worship God, whatever language we speak,” said the President. “Instead of division, I know that we can build a Kenya which prospers by rewarding hard work, and leaving no one behind.” He urged Kenyans to free themselves from the grievances of the past and to obey the law as they work hard to build a united, stable, and prosperous nation. He said the law must reign supreme and must be the refuge for all no matter the grievance. The President said his administration has more than once demonstrated its readiness to live by the law. He said despite serious misgivings about the process, he and his deputy complied with the International Criminal Court. The President said he also complied when the Supreme Court invalidated his clear victory in the August election, with an argument that processes mattered more than votes. “This Administration has demonstrated by its actions, its readiness to live and lead by the rule of law. By extension, we expect nothing less from each and every citizen,” said the President. He said his government will continue respecting ethnic, cultural and religious diversity; and that Kenyans will continue living in peace and unity as one indivisible sovereign nation. “I undertake to be the custodian of the dreams of all, and to be the keeper of the aspirations of those who voted for me and those who did not. I will be the President of all. And I will devote my time and energy to build bridges to unite and bring prosperity to all Kenyans,” said the President. The President said his swearing in marks the end of the longest electioneering period in Kenya during which the resilience of Government institutions have been tested to the limit. He said the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, the courts and the security agencies were stretched, some almost to breaking point, by the cut and thrust of politics during the last four months. He said Kenyan institutions have proved to be more resilient than was thought before. “Today, we are a people who can tell the world that we live under a robust constitutional order; and that our constitution is no piece of paper, but rather the living expression of our desire to live under the rule of law,” said the President. He said there is room for improvement in the organs of government that serve Kenyans but cautioned against attempts by some section of leaders to destroy institutions every time they do not deliver their wishes. In his speech the President pointed out four issues that have been achieved over the last four years that make him proud. The first is devolution which has turned every county into a centre of economic development. The second is the firm foundation for economic takeoff laid down by the Jubilee administration. “Our aggressive reforms to our business environment have made us the fastest-improving business environment anywhere in the world,” said the President. In three years, Kenya has risen 56 places in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index, from 136th to 80th. . He said Kenya is also building an entirely new world-class railway system; and thousands of kilometres of access roads to connect producers to markets. “What does this mean? It means that since June of this year, more than 500,000 Kenyans have travelled the Mombasa-Nairobi route cheaper, faster, and safer than ever before,” said the President. He also pointed out the connection of thousands of schools and millions of homes to electricity. The third issue the President said makes him proud is the investments and reforms made by the government that have begun to transform healthcare delivery in Kenya. The fourth issue the President cited was the reform in education that has restored the credibility of the system. “We have made education the great equalizer by removing exam fees; by providing digital learning devices; and by reviving our technical and vocational training,” said the President. The President expressed his commitment to work with leaders from across the political divide in building a stronger nation. In his speech the President outlined his vision for the next five years. The ceremony was attended by Heads of State including the President of Zambia Edgar Lungu Somalia Predient Mohamed abdullahi Farmajo, the President of Namibia Hage Geingob, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, South Sudan President Salva Kiir, the President of Botswana Seretse Khama, Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelle and South Sudan President Salva kiir. The Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu is also among the Heads of State who jetted into the country to celebrate the President’s swearing in for his final term in office. Other dignitaries included the Prime Minister of Togo Mamadi Youla, Gaston Sindimwo, First Vice President of Burundi, Swaziland Prime Minister Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini, Vice President of Nigeria Yemi Osinbajo, Tanzania Vice President Salma Hassan, former Zambia President Rubia Banda, former Nigerian President Thabo Mbeki. Others were Pierre Buyoya, the African Union High Representative for Mali and Amina Toure, the former Prime Minister of Senegal.