At exactly 2:35pm local time on Thursday, Kenya’s fifth president William Ruto’s motorcade with all the trappings of power arrived at Parliament Buildings in Nairobi for a joint sitting of the National Assembly and Senate.
The president accompanied by First Lady Rachel Ruto alighted from the presidential limousine, a bulletproof Mercedes Benz S600L.
Upon arrival, the two were received by deputy president Rigathi Gachagua, followed by Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) Gen. Robert Kibochi and service commanders from the Kenya Army, Kenya Navy and Kenya Airforce.
Present and ready for inspection was a guard of honour mounted by Kenya Air Force - Moi Air Base. This was the Commander-in-Chief’s first assignment. President Ruto inspected the guard of honour, while marching to religious band tunes, a military mark of respect accorded to heads of state, before granting them orders to march off.
Seated in the speaker’s gallery were invited guests, among them First Lady Rachel Ruto and members of the first family, DP Rigathi Gachagua and Second Lady Dorcas Gachagua.
Also present were; Prime Cabinet Secretary nominee Musalia Mudavadi, immediate former Speaker and Attorney General nominee Justin Muturi, former Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka.
Perhaps the most conspicuous guests were Chief Justice Emeritus David Maraga and IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati who sat next to each other. Roots Party presidential candidate George Wajackoyah was equally present.
First Address of Parliament
The head of state’s second job on Thursday was to officially open the 13th Parliament and address the joint houses of bicameral parliament.
President Ruto last appeared on the floor of the house in 2013, where he gave his last speech as then Eldoret North MP before the elections that year.
In his address as President, Dr Ruto noted that the 13th Parliament has recorded the highest number of reelected members of parliament ever.
“In the national assembly, a record 193 members have been reelected; 50 more than were reelected in 2017. While in the Senate, 17 senators have been reelected. This confirms the increased confidence of the people of Kenya in their leaders and institutions affirming the maturity of our democracy.
Another milestone is the election of women legislators elected into single-member constituencies. In this year’s election, 29 women were elected members of the national assembly; 6 more than were elected in 2017,” said President Ruto.
Article 132 1(a) of the constitution of Kenya requires the president to address the opening of each newly elected parliament.
The president is also mandated by article 132 1(b) to address a special sitting of parliament once every year to report to the nation on all the measures taken and the progress achieved in the realization of the national values.