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Thousands throng Kasarani stadium for Uhuru’s inauguration

Thousands of Kenyans streamed in to the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani, as early as 2am Tuesday for President Uhuru Kenyatta’s swearing-in.

The Sh384 million ceremony has been organised with military precision with screening of the attendants done two kilometres away from the stadium, and then made to go through two other security checks once in the spacious sports facility.

Those that were using vehicles were forced to alight at the footbridge opposite the Safari Park hotel, and made to line up all the way to the Thika Road Mall roundabout where the public had been asked to use that gate to access the 60,000-seater venue.

ALREADY FULL

By 8.30am, the stadium was already full, with large screens mounted at the 2,500-seater indoor arena and outside to accommodate an estimated 40,000 more people.

National Youth Service servicemen were in hand to search the jubilant supporters and direct them to the right gate.

And with the military lining up the road for the VIP gate entry, the 500-metre stretch is a fortress: with all those using the road, including journalists, made to hang their accreditation cards at all times.

The Thika Superhighway has been lined up by police with sharp shooters placed at strategic places at the road.

The government has said that 43 delegations will be represented at today’s ceremony with 14 heads of state expected.

Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni was the first to arrive Monday night, with the other expected leaders including Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu planned to arrive this morning.

President Kenyatta, accompanied by his deputy William Ruto, will be expected at the 60,000-seater Kasarani Stadium after 10am and will both take the oath of allegiance, and the oath of due execution of office, before signing them.

The oath of office will be administered by the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary Anne Amadi and witnessed by Chief Justice David Maraga.

21-GUN SALUTE

The oath will be followed by a 21-gun salute, an honour the military gives to welcome their new commander-in-chief, who in this case, will have extended his term.

The ceremony, by law, should happen in public not earlier than 10am, and not later than 2pm.

After being sworn in, President Kenyatta will give his inaugural second term speech, which by all indications will be geared towards an economic transformation plan and a concerted effort to heal a nation deeply divided by a protracted political dispute.

The Jubilee Party leader won the October 26 repeat presidential election boycotted by his main challenger Raila Odinga after the former prime minister successfully petitioned President Kenyatta’s August 8 win.