Uhuru Kenyatta sworn in as Kenya President

Nairobi, April 9: Uhuru Kenyatta was sworn in as Kenya's fourth president today to thunderous cheers from tens of thousands of supporters, despite facing trial on charges of crimes against humanity.

"I do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the Republic of Kenya," said Kenyatta, the son of the country's first president, clutching a bible as he took the oath of office.

Wearing a dark suit and red tie, he also pledged to "protect and uphold, the sovereignty, integrity and dignity of the people of Kenya".

Officials had to appeal for quiet as 60,000 people packed into Kenya's national football stadium chanted Kenyatta's name and roared in support as they danced.

William Ruto, who like Kenyatta faces trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity related to post-election violence five years ago when more than 1,100 people were killed, took the oath as vice-president.

"I will always truly and diligently serve the people and the Republic of Kenya in the office of the deputy president," Ruto said.

"I will do justice to all without fear, favour, affection and ill will," he added.

Kenyatta, one of Africa's richest men, won the March 4 polls by more than 800,000 votes on of his nearest rival, outgoing Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

The 51-year-old is Kenya's youngest president. Security was heavy as Kenyatta loyalists, dressed in the red colours of his party, danced as military bands played tunes to welcome the new leader and bid farewell to outgoing President Mwai Kibaki, 81, retiring after more than a decade in power.

Kibaki handed over Kenya's symbols of power including a sword and the constitution to Kenyatta, as both men smiled broadly and shook hands.

The handover was followed by a booming 21-gun salute.

Regional leaders and foreign diplomats watched as the full to capacity stadium danced and sang along to music and a military parade.

Among the heads of state attending the ceremony were Ethiopia's Hailemariam Desalegn, Somalia's Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, South Sudan's Salva Kiir, Tanzania's Jakaya Kikwete.

Odinga, who failed in his court bid to overturn Kenyatta's victory, did not attend, although Kenyatta urged all his "worthy opponents" to take part as opposition politicians.

Western nations, many of which have a policy of only "essential contact" with ICC indictees, sent ambassadors to the ceremony.

But Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, the only foreign leader to be invited to speak, congratulated those who voted for Kenyatta in "rejection of the blackmail" by the ICC, alleging the international court had been hijacked.

"The usual opiniated and arrogant actors using their careless and shallow analysis have now distorted the purpose of that institution," Museveni said to loud applause.

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Courtesy:ISTV Imphal


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