The newly inaugurated President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta has pledged to strengthen peace and unity in the East African country which experienced political violence in the 2007 elections leaving over 1,000 d people dead.
Kenyatta, 51, who is also the son of Kenya’s First Republican President Jomo Kenyatta was sworn in as the country’s fourth president at a colourful ceremony held at the Moi International Sports Complex in Kasarani on the outskirts of Nairobi.
Addressing over 3,000 people including 12 Heads of States and statesmen mainly from East, Southern, Central Africa, and West Africa, and over 40 representatives of African leaders, President Kenyatta said Kenyan’s should hold his government accountable if it fails to deliver on its election promises.
Vice President Dr Guy Scott, First Republican President Dr Kenneth Kaunda and Finance Deputy Minister Miles Sampa also attended the inauguration ceremony along with President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Jacob Zuma of South Africa, Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, and Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria.
A jubilant Uhuru whose arrival into the modern stadium was characterised by a frenzy of choruses from the excited crowd, said he was humbled by the confidence shown in him by the people of Kenya who gave him over 5 million votes translating into a 50.07 percent victory which eliminated the possibility of a run-off against his closest rival Raila Odinga of the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy who polled 43.2 per cent of the total votes.
President Kenyatta, who until his March 4 victory held the position of Deputy Prime Minister to now former President Mwai Kibaki, said the opponents in the last presidential race helped define and make stronger Kenyan democracy by giving the voters a wide choice of candidates.
“My government respects the role of democracy as it champions the right of Kenyans to speak their mind without fear of reprisal,” said President Kenyatta.
He said the democratic dispensation which started 20 years ago saw the promulgation of a new republican constitution under which the 2013 elections were held with new features including the creation of a house of senate and a running-mate for a president who automatically becomes the Deputy President sworn-in at the same time as the Republican President by the Chief Justice and President of the Supreme court.
And President Kenyatta, whose inauguration along with his Deputy William Ruto was witnessed by his mother Mama Ngina Kenyatta, his wife Margaret and three children, also pledged to work for all Kenyans including those that did not vote for him towards prosperity.
President Kenyatta stressed that it was important that his country achieves total peace by uniting everyone adding that peace was not merely the absence of violence but the presence of fundamental liberties and economic progress.
“My government will work towards permanent peace through which democracy is glorified and not under-mined, peace will only come when we deal with things that hinder progress,” said President Kenyatta.
And handing over the instruments of power to new Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, former President Mwai Kibaki said he has no doubt that the country was in safe hands through Kenyatta.
The former President said Mr Kenyatta should be given the space and support to enable him and his government to execute their presidential mandate adding that he was very happy to hand-over power to a new generation of leaders which signified that Kenyan democracy had come of age as the country was celebrating the new era under a new constitution a product of many on-going constitutional reforms.
Mr Kibaki made an emotional farewell to the people of Kenya after 50 years of public service in which he also served as Finance Minister under the First Republican President Jomo Kenyatta and as Vice President to President Daniel Arap Moi who was also in attendance at the inauguration ceremony.
And speaking on behalf of other Heads of States and government that attended the inauguration, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni castigated the International Criminal Court describing it as an institution that is being abused by those pursuing their own agenda.
Mr Museveni said he had supported the ICC, which has indicted President Uhuru Kenyatta for crimes against humanity in the aftermath of the 2007 elections because he abhorred impunity but that the shallow analysis being exhibited by its actors have now distorted the purpose of the institution by using it to install leaders of their choice in Africa and eliminate the ones they do not like.
“In 2007, what happened in Kenya is regrettable but legal processes from outside cannot address the problem but instead use local solutions and ideas to come-up with a thorough and thoughtful process and not legal gymnastics by people from far-off places,” said President Museveni.