William Ruto has been sworn in as Kenya’s president at a ceremony in the capital, Nairobi, following his narrow election victory, last month.
Ruto hailed it as “a moment like no other,” adding that a “village boy” had become president.
Rival, Raila Odinga, did not attend, saying he had “serious concerns” about his opponent’s victory.
Ruto won the election with 50.5 per cent of the vote, to Odinga’s 48.8 per cent.
Odinga has alleged the result was rigged, but the Supreme Court ruled the election was free and fair.
Ruto, the former deputy president, was handed a copy of Kenya’s constitution and a sword to represent the transfer of power from President Uhuru Kenyatta. With his hand on a Bible, the 55-year-old swore to preserve and protect the constitution.
“Standing here, today, is testimony that there is God in heaven. I want to thank God because a village boy has become the president of Kenya,” Ruto said, referring to the fact that he grew up in rural Kenya.
He also had conciliatory words for Odinga and all his opponents. “Their supporters will be my constituents. I will work with all Kenyans, irrespective of who they voted for,” Ruto said.
VICE President Yemi Osinbajo described the inauguration as a celebration of democracy and democratic institutions in Africa.
Osinbajo made the remarks while speaking to journalists shortly after the swearing-in ceremony at the Moi International Sports Stadium in Nairobi.
He said: “It is a celebration of democracy, and the reasons are obvious. The institutions held up – the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, the equivalent of Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission, and the judiciary; they held up and ensured that not only were processes properly followed but also that justice was done.”
According to Osinbajo, “whenever we talk about the celebration of democracy, we are really talking about the celebration of our institutions, the institutions that undergird democracy and the rule of law.
“I think what we have seen here in Kenya and the swearing-in of Dr. William Ruto is really evidence of robust institutions doing what they ought to do.
“It is a great example and we are all extremely pleased. And I’m sure you have seen, from all of the African Heads of State and Governments and their representatives who are present here today, that there is an atmosphere of elation and joy because this worked.”