April 10, 2013

Kenyatta sworn in as Kenyan president

Kenyatta sworn in as Kenyan president

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Uhuru Kenyatta has been sworn in as the new president of Kenya in a delayed ceremony. The inauguration puts the West in a difficult position as Kenyatta is facing trial in the International Criminal Court.

Kenyatta was sworn in as Kenya’s fourth president on Tuesday to the cheers of tens of thousands of supporters gathered at a sports complex in Nairobi.

“I do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the Republic of Kenya,” the new president said as he took the oath of office. “We are open for business and we invite you to invest in our country,” he added, as he pledged to diversify Kenya’s economy.

He also promised to work towards free access to health care within his first 100 days in office, as well as a scheme to give each primary school student a laptop computer.

Among notable guests were South African President Jacob Zuma and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, along with representatives from Gulf Arab states and China.

 

War crimes allegations

Kenyatta, 51, is the son of Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya’s first post-independence president.

He and his running mate William Ruto, who was sworn in as vice president on Tuesday, are both facing trial at the International Criminal Court in The Hague (ICC). They are wanted over their alleged involvement in post-election violence in 2007 which left more than 1,000 dead.

Museveni, the only foreign dignitary to speak at the event, criticized the charges.

He praised Kenyans for their “rejection of the blackmail by the International Criminal Court and those who seek to abuse this institution for their own agenda.”

Foreign powers, which he left unnamed, “are now using it to install leaders of their choice in Africa and eliminate the ones they do not like,” the Ugandan president said. He has led the East African nation since 1986.

Prior to Kenyatta’s election on March 4, Western nations had warned of diplomatic “consequences” if ICC suspects were elected to high office. As part of a delicate diplomatic balancing act, most European nations only sent embassy staff to the inauguration.

The inauguration ceremony had delayed for two weeks after Raila Odinga, Kenyatta’s main rival in the election, challenged the vote’s official result.

DeutscheWelle / ccp/mz (dpa, Reuters, AP)

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