Kenya's outgoing leader hosts rival President-elect Ruto hours before inauguration
On his last day as president, Uhuru Kenyatta finally congratulates William Ruto on his Aug. 9 election win
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday hosted William Ruto, the president-elect, and congratulated him on his win in the Aug. 9 elections.
“My family and I join all Kenyans in wishing the very best to our next President Dr. William Samoei Ruto and extending to him our warmest congratulations for receiving the mandate of Kenyans to lead us as our fifth president,” Kenyatta said in a statement shortly after meeting with Deputy President Ruto at State House in Nairobi, the capital.
The congratulatory message marked the first time that the Kenyan leader publicly complimented Ruto and their first meeting in months after a fallout over Kenyatta's open support for former Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga as his preferred presidential candidate.
In a valedictory message to Kenyans after the meeting, Kenyatta said he is looking forward to handing over the reins of power to his successor on Tuesday.
“You the ordinary Kenyans have walked with me each step of the way, cheering me and chastising me as the occasion dictated. To you all and to all those who have served with me during my tenure as President, accept my immense gratitude,” Kenyatta said.
On Tuesday, Kenyatta will pass the baton to Ruto at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani kicking off the fifth administration since Kenya’s independence.
According to the government, 20 heads of state have been invited for Ruto’s inauguration. Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho said that a 10,000-strong police team has been deployed at the 60,000-capacity stadium to “ensure order and everybody is safe.”
Ruto, 55, and Rigathi Gachagua, his pick for deputy president, will be sworn in on Tuesday.
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