US Ambassador Michael Rannenberger declined to comment on the surprise visit, only stating, "Today I will only talk about the ceremony and nothing else."
Dutch Ambassador Laetitia van Assum said the Government had hidden information of Bashirâs visit from the international community, therefore, pulling a fast one on them. "We had been told that Salva Kiir was the one coming. But we were surprised and the atmosphere became quite strange when Bashir arrived," she said.
On learning Bashir was around, civil society activists scolded the Kibaki administration, saying his presence had spoilt a good party.
James Mwamu, the secretary of the East African Law Society demanded an explanation from the Government on how Bashir found his way to the occasion, and why the Government failed to comply the ICC.
"His presence was a disgrace and paints Kenya badly in the eyes of the international community. It is casting doubt on whether Kenya can handover post-election suspects to the ICC."
Hassan Omar of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, added. "It was tasteless of him to use our national ceremony as an event for his international political wars."
Rights groups said the visit raises questions about Kenyaâs commitment to co-operate with the ICC on the ongoing investigations on post-election violence.
"Those who invited Bashir will also probably prevent local suspects from being prosecuted," said Karuti Kanyinga, a political scientist at the University of Nairobi.
New York-based Human Rights Watch had urged Kenya to bar him from entering the country or arrest him once he entered the country. "Kenya will forever tarnish the celebration of its long-awaited Constitution if it welcomes an international fugitive," said Elise Keppler, Senior Counsel in the International Justice Programme at Human Rights Watch.
Bashir sat calmly throughout the ceremony, his walking stick at hand, visibly without fear of being arrested. He exchanged pleasantries with his fellow leaders who included Rwandaâs Paul Kagame, Ugandaâs Yoweri Museveni and Tanzaniaâs Jakaya Kikwete.
Tourism Minister Najib Balala Bashir escorted Bashir to Uhuru Park, for the ceremony.
To protest Bashirâs presence, a number of EU ambassadors and human rights activists boycotted a luncheon hosted for invited dignitaries by President Kibaki at the State House. It is not clear whether the Government was aware of Bashirâs visit or whether he came unannounced. Efforts to get information from the Government on his visit bore no fruit.