Following his narrow victory in last month’s election, tens of thousands of people celebrated as William Ruto took the oath of office as Kenya’s president during a ceremony in the nation’s capital, Nairobi. The 55-year-old took a Bible in his palm and vowed to uphold and defend the nation’s constitution.
Raila Odinga, the losing candidate, excused his absence by stating that he had “severe reservations” about his opponent’s victory. Against Mr. Odinga’s 48.8%, Mr. Ruto received 50.5% of the vote to win the election. Although Mr. Odinga claimed the results were rigged, the Supreme Court determined the election to be free and fair.
The rush to get inside the stadium to see Mr. Ruto and his deputy Rigathi Gachagua be sworn in is said to have resulted in at least eight persons being hurt. However, inside the stadium, there was a boisterous atmosphere with regular cheering, waving of the Kenyan flag, and pockets of people wearing the color yellow, which is associated with Mr. Ruto’s campaign. A copy of Kenya’s constitution and a sword, signifying the transfer of authority, was given to Mr. Ruto.
Additionally, Mr. Ruto, the former deputy of departing President Uhuru Kenyatta with whom he had a falling out during their second time in government, and Mr. Kenyatta shook hands. Religious leaders offered prayers for the new president at the swearing-in ceremony, which was dominated by the topic of religion. Bishop Mark Kariuki claimed that by making Mr. Ruto, a former roadside chicken vendor, president, God had demonstrated his power.
After his two terms, Kenyatta announced his resignation. In the election, he supported Mr. Odinga, claiming that Mr. Ruto was unfit to be president. Less than a day before Mr. Ruto’s inauguration, Mr. Kenyatta congratulated him on his victory. In addition to urging the future president to serve all Kenyans, Mr. Kenyatta declared his commitment to a peaceful transition.
In a statement, Mr. Odinga said that although Mr. Ruto had called to invite him to the inauguration, he would not go because he was traveling and because he did not think the election had been free and fair.
Although the Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision upholding Mr. Ruto’s victory and dispelling Mr. Odinga’s claims that the election was tainted by major irregularities, this continues to be the case.