News / Africa

Kenyatta Becomes New President of Kenya

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta (C) displays the special sword that he received to represent his instruments of power from his predecessor, Mwai Kibaki (2nd L), after his official swearing-in ceremony at Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi, April 9, 2013.
Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta (C) displays the special sword that he received to represent his instruments of power from his predecessor, Mwai Kibaki (2nd L), after his official swearing-in ceremony at Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi, April 9, 2013.
Gabe Joselow
Uhuru Kenyatta vowed to promote peace, unity and economic development at his inauguration Tuesday as Kenya’s fourth president. Kenyatta and his deputy are taking power while facing charges at the International Criminal Court, which could complicate the country’s relations with the world community.
Kenyatta took the oath of office in an elaborate ceremony at the Moi International Sports Center outside Nairobi.
A host of African leaders watched the proceedings in VIP seating behind the dais, including Nigeria’s Goodluck Jonathan, Rwanda’s Paul Kagame and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. The U.S. ambassador and the British high commissioner to Kenya also attended.

New Kenyan President Faces Challenges in Promise to Unite the Countryi
April 10, 2013 8:50 PM
Kenya’s new President Uhuru Kenyatta has promised to unite the country, divided by a long and hard-fought election. As VOA East Africa Correspondent Gabe Joselow reports, Mr. Kenyatta has a tough task ahead, with many still skeptical of the new administration.

Vowing peace, unity

The 51-year-old son of Kenya’s founding president, a former finance minister and one of the country’s richest men, Kenyatta said his administration would focus on achieving peace and strengthening unity, following a divisive election.
“Today, work begins. The time has come not to ask what community we come from, but rather, what dreams we share. The time has come to ask not what political party we belong to, but rather what partnerships we can build,” said Kenyatta.
Outgoing president Mwai Kibaki handed over to Kenyatta the symbolic instruments of power - a sword and a copy of the constitution. Kibaki said he has “no doubt that the country is in good hands.”

Uhuru Kenyatta Factbox:

  • Elected president March 4
  • 51 years old; son of Kenya's first president
  • Facing crimes against humanity charges at ICC over violence following 2007 election
  • Former deputy prime minister and finance minister
  • Nominated to parliament in 2001
  • Appointed to run the Kenya Tourism Board in 1999
Upcoming ICC trials

Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto, are both facing charges at the International Criminal Court for crimes related to the deadly inter-ethnic violence that swept the country following the last vote in 2007.
In a statement released Tuesday, Human Rights Watch called on Kenya’s new leaders to cooperate with the ICC and to uphold their promise to attend their trials.
Western nations told Kenyans ahead of the vote that the election of two ICC indictees could complicate diplomatic relations. Kenyatta did not directly address the issue during his speech, though he and his supporters have, in the past, dismissed the warning as foreign interference.
In a speech at the inauguration, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni praised Kenyan voters for rejecting what he called “blackmail” by the ICC and accused external powers of using the international court to achieve a political agenda.
“They are now using it to install leaders of their choice in Africa and eliminate the ones they do not like,” said Museveni.

  • Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta takes the oath of office as his wife Margaret holds a bible during the official swearing-in ceremony at Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi, April 9, 2013.
  • Traditional dancers entertain guests using drums before the official swearing-in ceremony of Kenya's Uhuru Kenyatta at Kasarani Stadium, Nairobi, April 9, 2013.
  • Kenya's outgoing President Mwai Kibaki inspects the honor guard before the official swearing-in ceremony of President Uhuru Kenyatta at Kasarani Stadium, Nairobi, April 9, 2013.
  • Kenya's outgoing president Mwai Kibaki waves as he arrives for the inauguration of Uhuru Kenyatta at Kasarani stadium, Nairobi, April 9, 2013.
  • A traditional dancer leaves after entertaining guests before the official swearing-in ceremony of Kenya's Uhuru Kenyatta, Nairobi, April 9, 2013.

Following a new constitution

Kenyatta will be the first president to govern under the new constitution, passed in 2010, and designed to decentralize power and to more equitably distribute funds among the country’s 47 counties.
Nairobi lawyer and political analyst Martin Oloo said implementation of the constitution will be a key test for the new administration.
“They must demonstrate to Kenyans that they believe in the constitution and in particular that they believe in devolution. Over the next couple of months we are going to see how that pans out," said Oloo. "Chances are that they are going to succeed or fail on how they support or interpret the constitution and, in particular, the issue of devolution.”
Kenyatta won last month's election by a razor thin margin. His nearest rival, outgoing Prime Minister Raila Odinga, challenged the results at the Supreme Court, alleging the vote counting was flawed.  
After two weeks of court proceedings, the six justices ruled unanimously to uphold Kenyatta’s victory.

You May Like

Nearly Every Job in America Mapped in Detail

A nifty map pinpoints practically every job in the United States, revealing the economic character of America’s metropolitan areas, which also helps to inform the local culture

Corruption Busting Is Her Game

South African activist is building 'international online community of thousands of corruption fighters'

Former SAF Businessman Gives Books, Love of Reading to Students

Steve Tsakaris now involved in nonprofit Read to Rise, which distributes books in Soweto, encourages lower-grade primary school students to read

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Paul Gesimba from: Nairobi
April 10, 2013 12:58 AM
Apparently what you refer as razor thin margin was close to seven hundred thousand votes .The Supreme Court also ruled in his favor .Kenyans only wish and hope that he will serve them equally and without fear or favor .especially the close to 50% of the Voters who voted for the other candidates .

by: Pauline
April 09, 2013 11:26 AM
Jacob Zuma of South Africa, the deputy president of China and other distinguished African and world leaders were present. Uhuru and Ruto have nothing to prove to Kenyans - we believe them because we know them. We also know who should have been indicted by the ICC but was not.

By the Numbers

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs