William Ruto was sworn in as Kenya’s fifth president on Tuesday, a week after the Supreme Court upheld an election that dashed the hopes of the nation’s most prominent political families and handed power to a man who began his career as a roadside chicken seller.
By 5 a.m., Nairobi’s 60,000-seat Kasarani Sports Centre was packed with Ruto’s supporters resplendent in his party’s colours of yellow and green. They danced and waved miniature national flags to the strains of a band.
“He is our fellow youth! I know he will bring us more opportunity,” said dancer Juma Dominic as he and his troupe warmed up.
The National Police Service had tweeted that the stadium was full by 5 a.m. and asked citizens to stay home, but crowds continued to try to force their way inside. The St John’s Ambulance Service said it had taken several injured people to hospital. read more
FROM DEPUTY TO PRESIDENT
Ruto has been deputy to President Uhuru Kenyatta since 2013, but they fell out after the 2017 election. Kenyatta backed opposition leader Raila Odinga to succeed him in the August election and denounced Ruto as unfit for office.
Kenyatta finally publicly congratulated Ruto on the eve of his inauguration.
Ruto, a 55-year-old former roadside chicken seller who is now a wealthy businessman, campaigned by portraying himself as an underdog “hustler” battling the elite. Odinga and Kenyatta are the sons of the nation’s first vice president and president respectively.
Writing by George Obulutsa, Editing by Aaron Ross, Ed Osmond and Alex Richardson