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Team puts final touches on venue as William Ruto's big day almost at hand

 The main dais where President-elect William Ruto will take an oath of office at Kasarani Stadium on Tuesday next week. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

President-elect William Ruto will be going through many firsts on Tuesday as he takes his oath of office and signs the certificate of inauguration.

Outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta will hand over the instruments of power and authority, which include a symbolic sword and the Constitution.

This will be the first time the two politicians will meet after many months of no communication occasioned by their long political differences.

According to Interior PS Karanja Kibicho who sits in the Assumption of Office of the President Committee, at least 20 Heads of State and governments are expected to grace the event. An additional 2,500 VIPs will be expected to attend the event at the 60,000-capacity Moi Spor Complex, Kasarani in Nairobi.

“We have confirmation from presidents and Heads of States across Africa totaling 20 and we will have all protocols associated with visiting Heads of States ready,” said Kibicho after yesterday’s rehearsals the stadium. 

As of yesterday, preparations for the swearing-in ceremony were underway at Kasarani where a multiagency effort led by the military was mounted to ensure the ceremony runs smoothly.

In recreating what would happen on Tuesday, the Kenya Defense Forces rehearsed an elaborate parade together with the band while a mock show in the dais mirroring the real swearing-in.

Chief Justice Martha Koome and Chief Registrar of the Judiciary Ann Amadi who will administer the oath of office to Ruto and Deputy President-elect Rigathi Gachagua. This will be followed by President Kenyatta’s issuance of the instruments of power and authority to Ruto.

“The oath or affirmation shall be administered to the President-elect by the Chief Registrar before the Chief Justice, or, in the absence of the Chief Justice, the Deputy Chief Justice, not earlier than 10am and not later than 2pm,” reads the law.

The Constitution is handed over as a symbol that the country is governed by the rule of law, which is supposed to guide in the choices the President makes.

After Ruto receives the instruments of power, Uhuru’s presidential standard (the navy blue flag)  will be lowered while Ruto’s will be hoisted. Thereafter, A 21-gun salute will follow, and Uhuru will be given his standard by Chief of Defence Forces, General Robert Kibochi.

The event will then reach its crescendo with an inauguration speech from the new president.

Many formalities

Despite the event having an already scripted and formal process outlined by law, the swearing in ceremony has, in history, represented more than its many formalities.

Late President Mwai Kibaki used the event to communicate his most pertinent missions as he prepared to take office. It was on that stage at Uhuru Park that he reminded the thousands of Kenyans present and millions of others following on TV and radio that he was committed to fulfilling his promise of creating jobs, improving service delivery and introducing free education.

Kibaki also took the opportunity to call out the failings of his predecessor’s government while vowing to steer the country in a different trajectory. “I am inheriting a country which has been badly ravaged by years of misrule and ineptitude,” Kibaki told the huge crowd. “You have asked me to lead this nation out of the present wilderness and malaise on to the Promised Land, and I shall do so,” said Kibaki in his speech. Taking notes from Ruto’s speeches since he was declared president-elect, it is certain that the inauguration speech will be an opportunity for him to speak to the million of “hustlers” across the country as well as the international community.

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