Kenya’s communications director says security has been bolstered for the inauguration of President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto Tuesday.
Ezekiel Mutua says the stepped up security was ordered to prevent any possible violent attacks, given the country’s role in the fight against terrorism in neighboring Somalia.
“We have become a target for terrorism attacks and you can be sure that we are not leaving anything to chance,” Mutua said. “All the security agencies in the country and within the region have been put on high alert. The place has been secured. Everybody who is getting in will undergo through screening, and there would be security planes flying over Kasarani, the place where the swearing in will take place.”
Mutua said about 12 African heads of state as well as many other government delegations have arrived for Tuesday’s ceremony.
“It is going to be a huge occasion, one of a kind that puts Kenya in the spotlight. And we believe that given our strategic position, a lot of countries and a lot of dignitaries have interest in this event, to see how it will go,” Mutua said.
“There are a lot of expectations and excitement among Kenyans,” he continued, “but as you know, there is a huge population of Kenyans that needs to be brought on board, who are still healing, who are feeling that their candidate lost. The political contest in Kenya tends to get very personal and tribal and so these are issues that we are taking into consideration.”
Mutua says all is set for the swearing-in of both President Kenyatta and his deputy Ruto.
He says Kenyans are hopeful that outgoing Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) and other opposition leaders will be part of the event.
But, some Kenyan newspapers report that Mr. Odinga and some of the party leaders are unlikely to be part of the occasion since they left over the weekend for a vacation in South Africa.
Mutua expressed hope that the new government and the opposition will work together to ensure the country remains peaceful and united.
“If you look at the conduct of the president and his deputy since they were elected, they have been issuing statements calling for reconciliation that they are going to lead the entire country, they will not be president for one region or two regions that elected them. They are going to be leading the entire country and therefore there is need for us to get over the election and move on,” said Mutua.
“The same statements have been expressed by even those who lost the election and therefore we are hoping that the president and his deputy will put in place a mechanism to embrace diversity in the country and to ensure that the healing process take effect immediately.”
Judges of the Supreme Court unanimously voted to confirm Kenyatta’s victory in the presidential vote after CORD challenged the March 4th election citing voter irregularities and fraud.