It was pomp and colour at the inauguration ceremony of President William Ruto on Tuesday, September 13, 2022, that saw retired President Uhuru Kenyatta pass over the baton at the Kasarani National Stadium.
Distinguished guests, including some of the wealthiest people, were in attendance. Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote, the richest man in Africa, Meg Witman, current US Ambassador to Kenya and businessman Humphrey Kariuki are some of the billionaires who were present during President Ruto’s inauguration.
With significant investments in the industrial and construction sectors, Forbes magazine ranks Dangote as the 67th richest person in the world with a net worth estimated to be about a 12.7 billion US dollars (Ksh1.5 trillion). His businesses are present in various African nations, including Tanzania, located adjacent to Kenya.
A while back, the billionaire’s desire to invest in Kenya early 2010s, was put on hold over what he termed as rampant corruption among senior government officials. It was a major gesture for him to attend the inauguration, possibly indicating a potential improvement in relations with Kenya.
Dangote and Ruto are known to be acquaintances. They first crossed paths in March 2014 when Ruto visited Dangote’s Obajana cement factory in Nigeria’s Kogi state. At that time, Ruto was the country’s Deputy President.
Dangote secured a sitting position behind Kenya’s Chief Justice Martha Koome at the event’s dais alongside other dignitaries, mostly VIPS from other countries including a delegation drawn from the United States.
Meg Whitman who is the Current US ambassador to Kenya was also in attendance accompanied by other five officials of the US embassy, led by United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai, following the announcement of Joe Biden’s presidential delegation to Kenya to attend the Inauguration.
Others include; Colin Allred, United States Representative Texas, Mary Catherine Phee, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of African Affairs, U.S. Department of State and Dr Monde Muyangwa, the Assistant Administrator for the Bureau for Africa, U.S. Agency for International Development.
According to Forbes Meg Whitman’s net worth is estimated at Ksh343 billion (US$ 2.9 billion), making her one of the richest people on Kenyan soil. After being nominated by President Joe Biden in December 2021, the 65-year-old was vetted and approved for the position by the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Humphrey Kariuki Ndegwa was also among the business tycoons who attended president William Ruto’s inauguration. Ndegwa, who has avoided the spotlight for the past three decades, has quietly grown his business, the Janus Continental Group, into one of East Africa’s largest corporations.
His portfolio of companies includes enormous enterprises like The Hub, a luxury shopping centre in Nairobi’s Karen suburb, Africa Spirits, a producer of alcoholic beverages, Dalbit Petroleum, one of the continent’s largest oil distributors, and Great Lakes Africa Energy, a U.K.-based firm that develops and manages power projects in Southern Africa.
Speaking to local media at the ceremony Kariuki noted that investors look forward to revamping their businesses in the country, and working with the government for economic growth. He called upon business owners to pay taxes and support the government in performing its mandate.
Other dignitaries and heads of state present at the inauguration were Eswatini Prime Minister Cleopas Dlamini who arrived first at the premise followed by Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, both received by Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja, who walked them to their seats.
Other heads of states included Samia Suluhu (United Republic of Tanzania), Évariste Ndayishimiye (Burundi), Lazarus Chakwera (Malawi), Wavel Ramkalawan (Seychelles), Umaro Sissoco Embaló (Guinea Bissau), Felix Tshisekedi (Congo).Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio also arrived, Emmerson Mnangagwa (Zimbambwe), Filipe Nyusi (Mozambique), Paul Kagame (Rwanda), Salva Kiir (South Sudan) and Yoweri Museveni (Uganda).
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