William Ruto has been sworn in as Kenya’s fifth post-independence president on Tuesday.
According to Channels TV, Ruto was sworn in after a narrow victory in a bitterly-fought but largely peaceful election.
Tens of thousands of people joined regional heads of state at a packed stadium in Nairobi to watch him take the oath of office, with many spectators clad in the bright yellow of Ruto’s party, cheering and waving Kenyan flags.
“I William Samoei Ruto, in full realisation of the high calling I assume as president of Kenya, do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the public of Kenya, that I will obey, preserve and protect this constitution of Kenya,” he said.
Several people were injured earlier as crowds tried to force their way into the site. Television footage showed dozens of people falling on top of each other in a crush at one entrance gate.
Police urged Kenyans to watch proceedings from home after the 60,000-seat stadium was filled before sunrise.
“Dawn of Ruto era,” trumpeted the frontpage headline in The Standard newspaper, while the Star said: “Time for Ruto.”
A notoriously ambitious politician who has been deputy president since 2013, Ruto beat his rival Raila Odinga — who had been backed by outgoing president Uhuru Kenyatta — by less than two percentage points in the August 9 poll.
The 55-year-old rags-to-riches businessman, who once sold chickens on the roadside, now faces a daunting task to steer a polarised country gripped by a cost-of-living crisis and punishing drought.
His rise to State House has been closely watched by the international community, which looks to Kenya as a reliable and stable democracy in a turbulent region.