A majority of the presidents and heads of government invited to the swearing-in of President-elect William Ruto are from the African continent, The Standard has established.
Ruto, who won Kenya’s August 9, 2022 General Election, will be sworn in at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani in Nairobi County.
Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho said on Saturday, September 10 that about 20 presidents and heads of government have been invited to the ceremony.
The Standard has established that nearly all the 20 leaders are from the African continent, with one from the Middle East.
The invited presidents, as per our well-placed source in President-elect William Ruto’s circles, hail from the East African region, West African region, a few leaders from the North African countries and the southern Africa nations.
Also invited are leaders whose countries are members of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).
“I can authoritatively confirm that all presidents of East African countries have received invitations, and a majority, if not all the presidents, have confirmed attendance,” said our informant, who asked not to be quoted on the matter, citing sensitivity of the arrangements.
The East African region comprises seven partner states, which are Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.
Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni enjoys a cordial relationship with Ruto, and was among the first foreign leaders to congratulate the president-elect on his victory, both on social media and via a phone call.
Initially, Ruto’s team had invited 40 presidents and heads of government. The Standard has since established that out of the invited guests, some 20 – 17 presidents and three prime ministers – said they’d attend the function, with final confirmations expected on Monday, September 12.
Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu also congratulated William Ruto on his win. According to our source, she is among the leaders who have confirmed attendance.
The IGAD countries, whose leaders were also invited to the Tuesday event, are Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda. Kenya is part of IGAD.
The other invited guests are drawn from West Africa, North Africa and Southern Africa regions.
The Standard has learnt that Ruto’s team extended invitations to heads of government from Ethiopia, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa and Egypt.
Leaders of non-African countries, who had received invites but hadn’t confirmed attendance by Saturday are from Qatar and India. Representatives of the United Kingdom, United States, Russia and China were also invited to the Tuesday ceremony.
Our informant said he couldn’t reveal the identities of the presidents who have confirmed attendance as that would pose a risk to their security.
“I can’t disclose the identities of the presidents who will come to Ruto’s swearing-in. If I do that, I’d be posing their security at risk, as that alerts the evil schemers, such as terrorists, that a certain country would have a temporary power vacuum on Monday or Tuesday,” said our source.
“Let’s be patient. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will inform Kenyans, via a press conference, on Sunday or Monday about the heads of government who will attend Ruto’s swearing-in,” added our informant.
Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Ambassador Macharia Kamau said 17 presidents and three prime ministers had sent notices to Kenya, saying they’d attend the event.
“On who will grace the ceremony, I can’t disclose that because of the sensitivity of a head of government’s itinerary. In many countries, the media isn’t even allowed to report when their presidents leave the country to avoid exposing the state to external aggression,” said Kamau.
A source within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who sought anonymity, however, revealed the list of presidents and heads of government who have confirmed attendance.
They include heads of state from Djibouti, South Sudan, Sudan, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Comoros, the Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, Seychelles, Somalia, Tanzania, Equatorial Guinea and a representative of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Ghana and South Africa will send their vice presidents, said our source.
Nigeria, Burundi, Malawi and Ethiopia were yet to confirm attendance by Saturday evening.
William Ruto, who has served as President Uhuru Kenyatta’s deputy for ten years, was declared the winner of the August 9, 2022 presidential election after garnering 7.18 million votes (50.49 per cent) against his main opponent Raila Odinga’s 6.94 million (48.85 per cent).
Odinga unsuccessfully challenged Ruto’s win at Kenya’s topmost court, the Supreme Court.
Ruto, 55, will be Kenya’s fifth president after Jomo Kenyatta (1964-1978), Daniel Moi (1978-2002), Mwai Kibaki (2002-2013) and Uhuru Kenyatta (2013-2022).
By The Standard