‘Village boy’ William Ruto sworn in as Kenya’s president

NAIROBI, Kenya — William Ruto was sworn in as Kenya’s president on Tuesday after narrowly profitable the Aug. 9 election in East Africa’s most secure democracy, and rapidly signaled that his management will probably be a strongly Christian one.

The Supreme Court docket final week rejected a problem by dropping candidate and longtime opposition determine Raila Odinga of the official outcomes, finishing a markedly peaceable election in a rustic with a historical past of troubled ones.

The 55-year-old Ruto had been the deputy to outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta however had a bitter cut up with Kenyatta that left the 2 not talking for months at a time. On Tuesday, the viewers cheered as the 2 shook arms, and once more as Kenyatta handed over the devices of energy.

Ruto, who had dropped to his knees in tears and prayer when the court docket upheld his win, knelt on the stage minutes after his swearing-in throughout an prolonged sermon. “A chicken seller to a president,” intoned the pastor, highlighting Ruto’s humble youth.

Ruto’s first tweet quoted Psalms: “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” In his speech, he praised each the church and Islamic management and vowed that “we will enhance our partnership, build on our collaboration and enhance our support to them.”

The occasion started with some chaos. Scores of individuals had been crushed and injured as they pressured their approach into the packed stadium. A medic stated a fence fell down after individuals pushed it and about 60 had been injured, although the quantity could rise.

“We had to treat some with minor injuries. Most of them were rushed to the main hospital in Nairobi,” medic Peter Muiruri stated.

Folks tried to dodge baton-wielding safety forces. Some failed. “I was beaten by the police after trying to get inside,” stated a witness, Benson Kimutai.

Ruto is taking energy in a rustic closely burdened by debt that can problem his efforts to meet sweeping marketing campaign guarantees made to Kenya’s poor, whom he has described as getting by on “stubborn hope.” In his speech, he acknowledged that “clearly, we are living beyond our means.”

He promised cheaper fertilizer as meals costs rise and extra inexpensive credit score. He additionally vowed more cash for the judiciary, monetary independence for the nationwide police from the presidency and efforts to combat a drought in Kenya’s north that brings the specter of famine.

Ruto additionally requested Kenyatta to proceed “chairing discussions” on the regional crises in neighboring Ethiopia, the place the federal government is combating Tigray forces, and in jap Congo, the place tensions exist with Rwanda. Kenyatta has accepted, the brand new president stated.

With the transition, Kenya’s presidency strikes from one chief indicted by the Worldwide Felony Court docket to a different. Each Kenyatta and Ruto had been indicted over their roles in lethal 2007 post-election violence, however the instances had been later closed amid allegations of witness intimidation.

The August election was calm in a rustic with a historical past of political violence. Chaos erupted solely within the remaining minutes when the electoral fee publicly cut up and distinguished Odinga supporters tried to bodily cease the declaration of Ruto because the winner.

Ruto’s marketing campaign portrayed him as a “hustler” with a humble background of going barefoot and promoting chickens by the roadside, a counterpoint to the political dynasties represented by Kenyatta and Odinga. His presidential flag contains a wheelbarrow, the image of his marketing campaign.

“A village boy has become the president of Kenya,” he stated Tuesday.

However Ruto acquired highly effective political mentoring as a younger man from former President Daniel arap Moi, who oversaw a one-party state for years earlier than Kenyans efficiently pushed for multiparty elections.

Ruto now speaks of democracy and has vowed there will probably be no retaliation towards dissenting voices. “I will work with all Kenyans irrespective of who they voted for,” he stated in his speech.

However in a warning signal for media, native broadcasters accused by Ruto of bias up to now had been restricted of their protection of the inauguration and compelled to make use of a feed from a South African broadcaster through which Kenya’s nationwide broadcaster has a share.

The dropping candidate, 77-year-old Odinga, is setting himself as much as be a distinguished opposition voice as soon as once more after being backed by former rival Kenyatta within the election. In a press release on Monday, he stated he would skip the inauguration and later would “announce next steps as we seek to deepen and strengthen our democracy.”

Although Odinga additionally asserted that “the outcome of the election remains indeterminate,” a spokesperson advised The Related Press it was “highly unlikely” he would search to declare himself the “people’s president” as he did after dropping the 2017 election.

Moses Ndungu contributed to this report.

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