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Kenya gears up for new president

09 April 2013, 11:22 Omondi Oloo

Nairobi- All is set for the swearing-in of Kenya’s fourth President Uhuru Kenyatta which is to take place in Nairobi on Tuesday.

An estimated 60,000 people will witness the change of guard at State House when outgoing president Mwai Kibaki passes on the baton to Uhuru, witnessed by 18 African Heads of States and government at the Moi Sports Complex, in Nairobi at 1.25 pm.

More than 30 envoys from different countries will also attend, save for those from Europe and the United States, who have not confirmed attendance.

The US and the European Union have largely been unhappy with Uhuru over the crimes against humanity charges he and his deputy William Ruto face at the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague over the 2007 post-election violence in Kenya.

Among those who are in Nairobi for the event are South African President Jacob Zuma, Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, Jakaya Kikwete (Tanzania), Djibouti’s Ismail Omar, Salva Kiir of South Sudan and Rwanda’s Paul Kagame.

Nigeria’s Goodluck Jonathan, Gabon’s Ali Bongo, DRC’s Jospeh Kabila, Morocco Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane and his Algerian counterpart Abelmalek Dellal are also in attendance.

Others are Africa Union chairman and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni, who will speak on behalf of all African leaders.

However, there was confusion over the possible attendance of Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir whose name has not been circulated by the organising committee, although Sudanese media reported he would attend.

Bashir is wanted by the ICC over war crimes and Kenya is expected to arrest him should he attend, in line with the Rome Statute.

Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary Francis Kimemia said the public would also be allowed to witness the occasion.

“Protocol officers at the stadium will show everyone where to sit. The event will be covered live by media houses and this will give those at home a chance to follow the event,” Kimemia said in Nairobi.

“I will be glad to witness a smooth handover of power. This is the second time in our country that a retiring head of state will hand over to a new one.

"We are proud that we have remained united despite our political differences,” said Anastatcia Mukami, a Kenyan who travelled to the capital city from Eastern Province of Kenya to watch the event.

The historic swearing-in ceremony also has a rich menu of entertainment.

Top East African musicians such as Jaguar, Emmy Kosgey, Rufftone, Jemimah Thongo will get a prime slot before the inauguration enters its apex. Several artists will also stage poems, coral verses and short political and patriotic citations.

- CAJ News

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