|Kenya’s Grand Coalition Cabinet has been sworn into office, seeing Raila Odinga take office as the second Prime Minister in the country’s history.
The Cabinet, with a total of 41 ministers in addition to the President and the PM, is also the largest ever in Kenya’s history.
The ceremony at State House, Nairobi, was witnessed by the chief mediator in the peace making process, Mr Kofi Annan and several diplomats. Also at the ceremony was Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni, who is the current chairman of the East Africa Cooperation that brings together Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi.
Kenya’s retired President Daniel arap Moi also attended the ceremony.
Mr Odinga, who was first to take the oath of office, first swore allegiance to the presidency as a member of the Cabinet then took another oath as PM, undertaking to “counsel and advice” the President.
Next in line for the swearing in were Mr Odinga’s two deputies, Mr Uhuru Kenyatta and Mr Musalia Mudavadi. In addition to being Deputy PMs, the two also have ministerial portfolios, with Mr Kenyatta being responsible for Trade while Mr Mudavadi is responsible for Local Government.
Speaking after the ministers were sworn in, Mr Annan reminded them that the work was not over yet and asked them to work to ensure the Cabinet served Kenyans.
“Many have talked of the size of the Cabinet, but what is important is that we do have a Government and make it effective, cohesive and productive,” he said.
Mr Odinga said he was happy to take the office of PM and was looking forward to serve Kenya in the new Coalition Government.
“We have been to hell and back. Never again in our history should we return to those times,” he said.
President Museveni said Kenya had been “sick”, but “medicine” was now found: “It is now upon you to use the medicine well.”
He said African countries must change their approaches to growth by pursuing social transformation so as to have more people relying on industry and service sectors as opposed to agriculture.