William Ruto Inaugurated as Kenya's 5th President

William Ruto Inaugurated as Kenya's 5th President
Photo Courtesy: Simon Maina

William Ruto supporters hold posters of him

On Tuesday, Ruto became inaugurated as Kenya's president at The Moi International Sports Center in Nairobi after a month of controversy.

On Tuesday, William Ruto was officially sworn in as Kenya's president. This comes on the heels of his Aug. 9 election victory, and although the electoral process has been controversial, Ruto will be taking the presidential seat to rule the East African party. After strong pushback from opposing candidate Raila Odinga, Kenyans welcomed Ruto as their new leader. According to reports, Ruto immediately made it clear that religion would be a strong part of his reign.

Ruto's inauguration speech gave his supporters insight into his humble beginnings and the role of religion in his victory.

“I want to thank God because a village boy has become the president of Kenya,” he said in his first time addressing the country as their leader.

He also addressed the nation's surging food prices and said that he had plans to make agricultural items like fertilizer more affordable to people. Ruto also promised to invest money in fighting drought, which could eventually cause famine in the country.

According to reports, the crowd loudly cheered in support following the new president's inauguration.

Although the event was primarily a celebration of political victory, it kicked off with a stampede, with over 60 people sustaining injuries as they struggled to enter the stadium. Reports state that the tight security surrounding the stadium was a contributing factor to why so many people were injured while trying to access the already filled 60,00-person capacity stadium.

The incoming president also addressed Kenya's tremendous debt at the height of inflation, which has affected living and the quality of life for many of its citizens. In spite of the overall success of the event, several reports pointed out that Ruto had a contentious relationship with the media, and highlighted concerns that he might have a strained relationship with media outlets during his presidency. The inauguration itself had minimal press, with Ruto's incoming administrative team announcing that it would hand over sole broadcasting access to MultiChoice Kenya. According to The New York Times, Ruto had previously been affiliated with a political organization that tried to stifle the media.

Several media personalities, including seasoned journalist David Makali, also shared that the rollout for the event was a prediction of the future.

“The optics don’t look favorable given how this measure was rolled out,” said Makali, "but, I am ready to give the new government the benefit of doubt and hope this isn’t a deliberate move to suppress the press.”