The UK Minister for Africa, Rory Stewart, represented Theresa May’s government at the Presidential inauguration of President Uhuru Kenyatta today.
As he was sworn in for a second term as Kenya’s President, Uhuru pledged to work for national unity in a speech which the MP for Penrith and The Border described as a “powerful opening”.
“I will devote my time and energy to build bridges, to unite and bring prosperity,” he told the huge crowd gathered for his inauguration at Nairobi’s Kasarani stadium.
“The election that we just concluded was probably one of the longest ever held in our continent’s history. Today, the 123rd day since we began on August 8, today’s inauguration therefore marks the end, and I repeat the end, of our electoral process,” he added.
Kenyatta also vowed to open up the country’s job market to nationals of other East African countries and move toward a system of universal health care.
— Rory Stewart (@RoryStewartUK) November 28, 2017
As the largest economy in East Africa, Kenya is a crucial trade route to the continent and has provided an important buffer of stability in the region.
However, the presidential race, and subsequent election-related violence, has thrown the country into political chaos, reopening ethnic divisions that Kenyatta will need to address quickly.