William Ruto was sworn in as Kenya’s fifth president on Tuesday, succeeding Uhuru Kenyatta, who has served constitutionally mandated two five-year terms.
It comes a week after the Supreme Court threw out a lawsuit from a veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga challenging his victory.
On August 15, the former deputy president was declared the winner of Kenya’s presidential election after narrowly beating his rival, Raila Odinga, with 50.5 percent of the vote, according to the official results.
In the ceremony held at Kasarani stadium William Ruto took two oaths.
“I, William Samoei Ruto, in full realization of the high calling I assume as President of the Republic of Kenya, do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the Republic of Kenya,” Ruto said as he read the oath.
“That I will obey, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of Kenya as by law established and all other laws of the Republic; “and that I will protect and uphold the sovereignty, integrity and dignity of the people of Kenya. So help me God.”
No one can remain blind to the challenges the new leader faces, in a politically polarised country gripped by a cost-of-living crisis and recurrent extreme drought.
The East African political and economic powerhouse is reeling from a once-in-a-generation drought and inflation is at a five-year high.
Kenya is “in a deep economic hole” Ruto admitted at the weekend, repeating his pledge to lower the cost of living. Among his ambitious promises is the creation of a 50-billion shilling (400 million euro) “hustler fund” to provide loans to small businesses, and a commitment to bring down prices for fuel, grain and fertiliser.
The task of turning around the economic fortunes of the country may not be easy, the International Crisis Group think tank said, urging Ruto to address the challenges rapidly.
“Given sky-high popular expectations and an economy in dire straits, governing may well prove tougher than campaigning,” the Crisis Group warned.