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William Samoei Ruto sworn in as Kenya’s new president

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NAIROBI, KENYA - Kenya's newly elected President William Ruto makes a speech after he sworn in as Kenya's fifth president during a ceremony in Nairobi, Kenya on September 13, 2022. (Gerald Anderson - Anadolu Agency)
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Sep 14, 2022 - 10:57 AM

NAIROBI, Kenya (AA) – William Samoei Ruto on Tuesday was sworn in as Kenya’s new president in a colorful ceremony attended by Kenyans from all walks of life and heads of state from across Africa.

“I William Samoei Ruto, in full realization of the high calling I assume as President of the Republic of Kenya, do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the Republic of Kenya and that I will obey, preserve, protect, and defend this Constitution of Kenya as by law established and all other laws of the Republic,” Ruto said, taking the oath of office as Kenya’s fifth president.

“I will protect and uphold the sovereignty, integrity, and dignity of the people of Kenya, so help me God.”

Ruto took the oath in the presence of Chief Justice Martha Koome, as laid out in the Constitution. He succeeds Uhuru Kenyatta, who has been president since 2013, and under whom Ruto served as deputy president.

Also invited were high-level delegations from across the world and a wide array of dignitaries.

There was heavy security at the 60,000-capacity Kasarani stadium, which was full to the brim. According to the Interior Ministry, 10,000 police officers were deployed to provide security for the attendees.

Thousands more were left locked outside as the stadium was full to capacity. There were several stampedes outside the stadium as those left outside tried to go in, and at least eight people were injured and taken to hospital by emergency services.

Rigathi Gachagua, 57, a former member of parliament who served previously in various capacities in public administration, was also sworn in as Kenya’s 20th deputy president.

Science and politics

Beginning in April 2013, Ruto himself was the country’s first elected deputy president, replacing the vice presidential post, which was appointed, not elected.

Born in December 1966 in Sugoi, Uasin Gishu County in Kenya’s Rift Valley, 55-year-old Ruto is a graduate of the University of Nairobi with a bachelor of science in botany and zoology.

Ruto went back to the university in 2011 where he got a master’s in science and later a PhD in the same field.

In 2011, then Deputy President Ruto and Kenyatta, then deputy prime minister, were among six people accused of war crimes at the International Criminal Court for funding and sponsoring violence in 2007-8 post-election violence that killed at least 1,200 people.

Their cases were dropped in 2016 due to insufficient evidence after witnesses withdrew from the case.

Promises for farmers

Ruto, a former roadside chicken seller who is now a wealthy businessperson, campaigned as a challenger to the powerful families that have dominated Kenyan politics since independence in 1963.

Straight to business like he promised while on the campaign trail, Ruto appointed his former boss Kenyatta to continue chairing peace talks between Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

He also appointed six judges to the Court of Appeal on Tuesday as recommended by the Judicial Service.

The new president promised farmers cheap fertilizers before rains come next month.

“Our priority intervention, therefore, is to make fertilizer, good-quality seeds and other agricultural inputs affordable and available,” Ruto pledged.

The Kenyan leader said that the new rates which are almost half the previous government rates would be available from next week, appealing to county governments in eastern, central and western regions to work with the new national government in making sure that fertilizers are available to farmers.

President Museveni of Uganda, Tanzania’s Samia Suluhu and Burundi’s Evariste Ndayishimiye all urged Ruto to pay key interest in advancing the East African Community regional integration.

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