After close to a decade in office as Kenya’s fourth president and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, Uhuru Kenyatta will hand over the reins of power to William Ruto in a ceremony at the Kasarani Stadium.
Besides taking oath and affirmation of allegiance, transfer of power in Kenya comes with symbolic traditions that have been in practice for the last 50 years of Kenya's independence. Kenya, being a Commonwealth country, has borrowed some of these traditions from the British customs regarding handing over power.
Among the key instruments of power in Kenya is a symbolic sword that is held by a sitting president. The sword is made of stainless steel with a golden coating. Founding president Jomo Kenyatta was the first recipient of the sword over 50 years ago.
The idea is borrowed from the Japanese Dynasty way back in 300 AD and is used to signify power and authority. After subscribing to the oath of Office, the outgoing president hands the sword over to the incoming president to symbolize a shift in power and authority.
The new president will be the custodian of the sword and it is usually kept at the president’s office at Harambee House.
The outgoing president will also hand over a copy of the Constitution of Kenya to his successor. The constitution symbolizes that Kenya is governed by the rule of law.
Every head of state has a presidential standard that is associated with his reign. The standard is in form of a flag and is hoisted on his official vehicle as well as functions attended by the president.
The outgoing president’s standard will be lowered and subsequently, the incoming president’s standard will be hoisted which is yet another symbol of the shift of power.
21- Gun Salute
The ceremony also includes a 21-gun salute, a tradition borrowed from the United Kingdom. The gun salute is conducted by the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF), to welcome the new Commander-in-chief.
This is done by firing cannons and artillery shortly after the handing over of the instruments of power.
Aide De Camp
As soon as the president-elect takes his oath of office, the aide-de-camp shifts from the outgoing president to the new president. The aide de camp, usually a member of the military, is the personal assistant of the president who brings honour and dignity to the president.
Henceforth, the ADC will accompany Ruto in all functions and official duties.
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