Sunday, 7 April 2013

All set for Kenya’s big day as foreign leaders jet in ahead of Uhuru’s fete

Foreign leaders on Sunday started arriving for the swearing-in on Tuesday of President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto.
Mr Kenyatta, Kenya’s fourth President, is to be sworn in by Chief Justice Willy Mutunga at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, in a colourful ceremony expected to be attended by thousands.
Heads of State and government from countries across Africa, led by the presidents of East African Community countries, are expected.
President Salva Kiir of South Sudan was the first to arrive in Nairobi on Sunday.
The motorcade of Uganda President Yoweri Museveni was en route to Nairobi on Sunday afternoon. Mr Museveni enjoys close relations with retiring President Kibaki and will have a speaking role at the function, to which 54 African presidents have been invited.
The event’s organising committee, led by Head of Public Service Francis Kimemia, said many people were eager to be part of the historic ceremony.
“A lot of dignitaries want to watch Kenya’s historic moment. They want to know how we handled the process and we received many requests from people all over the country wanting to attend,” Mr Kimemia told the Nation.
“All African presidents have been invited and dignitaries across the world.”
Some of the leaders, who have confirmed attendance are Presidents Museveni, Paul Kagame (Rwanda), Jakaya Kikwete (Tanzania) and Pierre Nkurunziza (Burundi).
Other top dignitaries expected at the inauguration include the Deputy President of the Chinese Congress People’s Party Zhang Baowen.
“Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni will speak on behalf of all guests at swearing-in,” Mr Kimemia said.
President Museveni is the chairman of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa Authority.
Western powers
Apart from Heads of State from Africa, representatives of governments from across the world are also expected.
The ambassadors and high commissioners of Western powers such as the United States and Britain will represent their countries.
Mr Kenyatta, who is facing crimes against humanity charges at the International Criminal Court, was elected despite pointed warnings by the US, UK and European Union that electoral choices will have “consequences”.
It was widely speculated that they preferred Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who lost and contested the result at the Supreme Court.
The top brass of the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy are in South Africa for a rest after the divisive March 4 General Election.
It is not clear whether Mr Odinga, Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula will be back in Nairobi for Mr Kenyatta’s inauguration.
On Sunday, a source who accompanied the Cord leaders to South Africa said they were not keen on attending the inauguration ceremony.
“What they want is to have a rest, reflect and plan on their options for the future,” the source who asked not to be named as he has no mandate to speak on the leaders’ plans, said.
The whole function could be clouded by controversy of reports by Sudanese newspapers that President Omar al-Bashir is coming proves accurate.
President Bashir is wanted by the ICC and his attendance at the promulgation of the Constitution in 2010 generated wide debate.
The ICC has issued a warrant of arrest against President Bashir on charges of war crimes committed in the Darfur conflict that broke out in 2003.
Mr Kimemia said they had prepared for all the dignitaries coming in as and when they confirm their arrival.
Inspector-General of Police David Kimaiyo on Sunday said security agencies had put in place measures to ensure public safety.
He said security measures, including elaborate physical presence of law enforcement officers, had been finalised.
Free flow of traffic
Those attending with children have been asked to ensure they do not get separated. “Due to the high human traffic anticipated, telephone signals may also be strained, but police officers will be placed strategically to deal with cases of lost persons,” Mr Kimaiyo said.
Traffic police officers will also be posted on major highways in a bid to regulate both private and public transport to ensure free flow of traffic.
About 1,000 traffic police officers will be stationed along the road during the ceremony. However, there will be no total closure of roads, but traffic will occasionally be stopped to allow the movement of VIPs.
By yesterday evening, traffic plans had not been finalised, but AP spokesman Masoud Munyi said the Thika superhighway would be open and adequate traffic police officers would control the traffic.
“We will temporarily close the roads when the VIPs will be moving from their hotels to the venue, State House and the airport,” he said.
On Sunday, workers, singers, disc-jockeys, folk-song dancers, painters and other artistes were finishing preparations for the big day.
Tending flowers
Afro-pop group Sauti Sol, hip hop musician Abbas Kubaff, gospel musicians Rufftone, Ringtone and Daddy Owen were rehearsing their final moves on the stage as traditional dancers from Narok High School did their jig a few yards away.
Workers put up tents, sound systems, huge TV screens and mobile sanitary facilities inside the stadium built by the Chinese in the late 1980s.
The preparations were being done under the watchful eye of the Assumption of the Office of President Committee.
Outside, workers were tending flowers, cutting grass or just fixing potholes.
Presidential Press Service director Isaiah Kabira told reporters on Friday that his unit would provide live feed for media houses that do not have outside broadcasting vans.
After the ceremony and when the National Anthem is being played, President Kibaki’s standard, a special flag for the President, will be lowered and Mr Kenyatta’s hoisted.
Mr Kibaki will immediately join Mr Daniel Moi with the title of ‘retired President’.
A 400-strong delegation from the North Rift will attend the ceremony.
“The local leadership including, governor, senator, MP, women and ward representatives have been involved in preparations for the delegates to attend the installation ceremony,” said Mr Abdi Hassan, the Uasin Gishu County Commissioner.
Marsabit County will be represented by about 70 agents during the occasion, according to a local provincial administrator, who said he had instructions to make arrangements for their travel.
In Mombasa, Jubilee Coalition delegates will depart this evening to attend the swearing-in ceremony.
TNA’s Coast pointman, Mr Farid Ahmed Swaleh, said yesterday that they were coming to the ceremony “in a big way”.
“We have hired 30 buses to transport the delegates to Nairobi. Delegates are drawn from all the six counties in Coast,” he said.
Mr Swalleh did not reveal how much money the delegates will receive as allowances, but some insiders said it could be up to Sh 10,000.
Delegates from Kisumu, Siaya and Kakamega were also preparing to travel.
In Kisumu County, the County Commissioner, Mrs Lorna Odero, said that invitations had been sent to delegates who are expected to travel on Monday
Reported by Edith Fortunate, Barnabas Bii, Aggrey Mutambo, Peter Obuya, Lucas Baraza, Zaddock Angira, Daniel Nyassy, Lilian Ochieng, Godfrey Ombogo, Benson Amadala and Simon Siele

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