Kenya’s main sports stadium was packed on Tuesday as supporters of Vice President William Ruto awaited his swearing-in as the country’s fifth president.

Ruta – a gifted orator known for working long hours – will face a host of challenges when he takes over from Uhuru Kenyatta, including soaring food and fuel prices, high unemployment and rising public debt.

“We want to see less and less government in people’s lives and more and more services for the people of Kenya,” Ruto’s deputy Rigati Gachagua told state broadcaster KBC.

The 60,000-capacity Kasarani Sports Center in the capital, Nairobi, was packed with supporters of Ruto in his party’s yellow and green colors by 5am. They danced and waved miniature national flags, while music played from the stands.

The National Police Service tweeted that the stadium was full and asked that no one else try to attend.

“He’s our young guy! I know he will give us more opportunities,” said dancer Juma Dominic as he and his troupe warmed up before performing in front of the crowd.

Ruto served as Kenyatta’s deputy since 2013, but they parted ways after the 2017 election. Kenyatta endorsed opposition leader Raila Odinga as his successor in the August election and condemned Ruto as unfit for the job.

“Mr. President-elect, as you walk the path to your inauguration and beyond, you will be the president not only for those who voted for you, but for all Kenyans,” Kenyatta said in an address on Monday night in which he wished Ruto well. .

Deputy President Mabuza will attend the inauguration of the new President of Kenya, William Ruto

Kenya is a key Western ally in the volatile region and the richest and most powerful country in East Africa. The regional headquarters of many global companies and organizations are located here.

Odinga sued Ruto, accusing him of cheating on his way to victory, but the Supreme Court dismissed his petition along with several others. It was the fifth time that the 77-year-old Odinga stood for election.

Odinga accepted the court ruling, helping to avoid the violent protests that marred elections he lost in 2007 and 2017.

However, Odinga said on Monday he would not attend Ruto’s inauguration and did not believe the election was free and fair.

Ruto, a 55-year-old former roadside chicken vendor who is now a wealthy businessman, presented himself during the campaign as a volatile “shulker” fighting the elite.

Odinga and Kenyatta are the sons of the country’s first vice president and president, respectively.

The message resonated with chronically unemployed youth and families trapped by poverty and rampant corruption, which Kenyatta has publicly admitted he has failed to curb.

Members of Ruto’s team have also faced allegations of corruption.

In July, a court ordered Gachagua to return $1.7 million in what it determined were the proceeds of corruption.

Gachagua and Ruto dismissed the sentence as politically motivated.

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