LIVETEXT - Witnessing a new Kenya born

Friday August 27 2010

Former President Mwai Kibaki signs Kenya's new Constitution into law at Uhuru Park, Nairobi in 2010.

Former President Mwai Kibaki signs Kenya's new Constitution into law at the Uhuru Park, Nairobi in 2010. Ghanaians are demanding a system that would look much more like Kenya’s county governments writes Gabrielle Lynch. PHOTO | PPS | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By BASILLIOH MUTAHI and JOY WANJA

Kenyans ushered in a new era on Friday at a grand ceremony in the capital Nairobi, as President Kibaki signed in into law a new constitution.
Follow the live text report of the event as it happened…

1:10pm - See a picture gallery of Kenya's promulgation day. You can also download President Kibaki's speech. Later, Members of Parliament and Judges will be sworn in.

1:07pm - Something interesting to note: Raila is a trending topic worldwide on the social media network Twitter. This must be big.

12:52pm - The VIPs start leaving the Uhuru Park venue starting with heads of State.. President Kibaki will be hosting a State luncheon for them later at State House.

12:45pm - Dignitaries get doves, and they are now ready to release them. Balloons in the colour of the national flag are also released as a sign of the new dawn.

12:43pm - President Kibaki is through with his speech. He opts not to go off the cuff and only utters "Asanteni sana na Mungu awabariki". The orderly asks Kenyans to sing the National Anthem to mark the end of the ceremony.

12:37pm - Kibaki: With the new constitution, we must change approach to politics. He gives an example of the new counties, which, "need support of all Kenyans to develop all corners of the country."

12.24pm Prime Minister Raila Odinga invites President Kibaki to read his speech and Kibaki pays tribute to all Kenyans that suffered for the sake of the country and describes it as the rebirth of a nation.

Tanzania is represented by Zanzibari President Sheikh Abeid Karume

12:17pm - Raila switches to Kiswahili. It is noteworthy that the new law recognises the language as an official language. His message is the same - that 'the time has come.'

12.07pm - Prime Minister Raila Odinga delivers his speech and likes it to a race in ancient Greece. The crowd cheers on as Raila pauses in his speech.

He says today marks the end of one journey, to the beginning of another.

He says August 4th will be a historic day when 'we formed a more united Kenya.' Says nobody could have thought that after the violence, this could have happened. "We close a chapter in our history"

He saluted past Kenyan independence heroes who had sacrificed their lives for the new Kenya. He dedicates this supreme law to his predecessors like Pio Gama Pinto, JM Kariuki, Masinde Muliro, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Kenneth Matiba, Wangari Maathai and others "who sacrificed to make today a reality."

12.00 noon - Speeches begin with Kalonzo Musyoka congratulating Kenya on the promulgation of the new constitution. ‘HONGERA TENA SANA’ he says.

This day marks the beginning of our renaissance, Mr Musyoka added.

11.50am - Statehouse choir of 120 members joins local leading performing artists in performing the song , Kenya, My Kenya,’ written by Achieng Abura.

11:45am - And singer Eric Wainaina sings Daima Kenya, the song that became almost like an anthem during Kenya's post-election violence period in 2008. The song urges Kenyans to be patriotic and united.

11:42am - First Lady Lucy Kibaki is visibly entertained. She is seen standing and dancing along to the song Taunet ne lel .(A new beginning). Some other dignitaries at the dais do the same. Perhaps only Kofi Annan, President Kibaki and retired President Moi did not rise

11:39am - Time for Gospel singer Emmy Kosgei as she entertains the Uhuru Park multitudes. Orange Democratic Movement  deputy head  William Ruto  sings along to the song

11:33am - As the entertainment session continues at the promulgation venue, the reality Kenyans must think of the long journey it has been to this point. These images illustrate Kenya's journey to new law.

11:30am -The promulgation ceremony is being translated to Kenya Sign Language for the deaf Kenyans to partake in the historic ceremony.

11:17am: Looks like Sudan's President Bashir presence here in Kenya has not been received well by Human Rights Watch. The organisation says: "Kenya should bar Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir from entering Kenya or arrest him for trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) if he enters Kenyan territory.” See story here.

11.16am - A team of Kenyan athletes led by 4x 400 metres champion Robert Ouko and followed by Kenyan cultural dancers from Coast Province

11: 15am - Time for entertainment.

There are 1,005 students from schools in all 210 constituencies dressed in the colours of the national flag matching past.

11.12am -There is also a trailer from the Agricultural Society of Kenya represented by Kenya Meat Commission and the new Kenya Cooperative Creameries

11.10am - Trailers bearing workers simulating the construction of houses are also part of the display here. They are constructing a new house symbolizing the making of the new Kenya. Central Organisation Trade Union is behind this.

11.07am - Puma helicopters trailing banners bearing the words,’ GOD BLESS KENYA,’

There shall be no fly pasts because of the hazy weather

11.01am - Armoured Personnel Carriers, battle tanks and Humvees roll by. There is little chance they will ever be used in actual war, but every nation appreciates the role the army plays. It is the first time the Kenyan public is seeing this war machinery. Amazing stuff!!

Retired President Moi  is seated a few steps behind President  Kibaki.The old man must miss such occasions

10:58am - A spectacular display by the Armed forces.

20th Para Battalion matches past the dais followed by Regular and Administration Police and the Paramilitary General Service Unit.

10.56am The President to salute the guard of honour mounted by the Armed Forces as the Band plays on.

10:56 am - Martha Karua tweets:  "The vice president now takes oath amidst shouts of yes no but finally he gets applause#promfriday"

10.54am -President Kibaki and his wife Lucy Kibaki chat happily. He is perhaps reminding her of 2002.

10:48am - Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka is fourth person to take the oath. Just like for the Prime Minister, President Kibaki countersigns.

10:44am - Next, Prime Minister Raila Odinga. He takes the oath as the President countersigns. There are loud, wild cheers and ululations from the crowd.

10: 40am President Kibaki takes afresh the oath of office and allegiance to the new law.

10.36am - Justice Evan Gicheru is the first person to swear allegiance to the new Constitution. Incidentally he will be among the first people to leave office under the new law.

10:33am- The cheering at its loudest. The flag that has been hoisted is 22 by 14 ft and has risen to a height of 30 metres where it will remain as a permanent feature.

10.32am - The cannon blasts as the flag is hoisted. IT’S A NEW KENYA!

10:29am - The National Anthem is sang d in Kiswahili as Kenyans on the trees wave miniature national flags as they sing along to the three stanzas. More loud cheers.

10.28am Loud cheers as the fanfare is played with President Kibaki waving the Constitution. You should see the smile on the man’s face

10.27am -The seal is affixed on the new constitution and it is then held up for the crowds to see. And now, Kenya is under a new constitution!

10:26am - President Kibaki is seated at the table signing the instruments of the promulgation after which the three stanzas of the National Anthem shall be played

10.25am I Mwai Kibaki, President of the President of Kenya and the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces in exercise of the powers granted to me by Section 47 of the Constitution declare that the Constitution set out in the schedule shall become the new Constitution of the Republic of Kenya starting this date the 27th of August 2010

10:16am - It's now President Kibaki speaking, giving the promulgation statement. Standing beside him at the dais is Attorney General Amos Wako.

10.15am - Attorney General Amos Wako takes out the instruments of the promulgation and after consultation with President Kibaki hands them to read.

10:12am - Government responds to the presence of Sudan President Omar al Bashir. Foreign Affairs minister Moses Wetangula says, “He is here in response to our invitation to all our neighbours and the sub-region to attend this historic moment for Kenya,”
You do not harm or embarrass your guest. That is not African, Mr Wetang'ula added.
“The government appreciates the presence of all our distinguished guests for honouring us,” he said in response to the presence of the indicted leader in the country.

10:08am Catholic Archbishop John Cardinal Njue currently leading prayers at the Uhuru Park venue. Prays for unity in spite of our "religious, and social status." The crowd jeers and whistles instead of praying with him.

9:58am - The promulgation falls on Friday, the Muslim’s day of worship and during the holy month of Ramadhan

Kenyan Members of Parliament will later address a press conference on Sudan President Omar al Bashir

9.57am - Round of prayers begin by a traditional elder, the Muslim Chief Kadhi and Christian leaders

9.55am - Inspection is over and President Kibaki takes his seat

9:48am - The National Anthem is played and a little later, President Kibaki inspects a guard of honour.

9.45am - First Lady Lucy Kibaki arrives dressed in black and a gold sash accompanied by her grandson in a grey suit.

The golden sashes adorned by ministers and the First Lady are the mark of national honours awarded to them. Those who have been awarded the Elder of the Golden Heart (EGH) are wearing the gold colours and the presidents large chain is the Chief of the Golden heart.

Speaker of Somali Parliament arrives.

Trust Kenyans to look for the best vantage points and for some of them at Uhuru Park today, they chose the trees.
9.42am - The President’s motorcade and the Special Land Rover that he will board as the Commander –in-Chief line up at the right of the dais

09:43am - President Kibaki arrives. Formal programme starts with him inspecting the guard of honour.

09:32am - President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and President Ahmed Abdallah Sambi arrive.

09:16am - Surprise as Sudan President Omar al Bashir arrives for the ceremony. He is wanted by the International Criminal Court at The Hague for war crimes in Darfur.

09:12am - Dignitaries present include former presidents Daniel arap Moi (Kenya), John Kufuor (Ghana), Olesegun Obasanjo (Nigeria) and Benjamin Mkapa (Tanzania). Also at the VIP dais is the former Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, who chaired the Panel of Eminent African Personalities that mediated the Kenya peace deal following the post election violence.

09:05am - The sky gets more gray in Nairobi, drizzling and cold, but the crowd is energised. Singing, shouting, blowing vuvuzelas.

09:02am - The military parade take position for the guard of honour, clear sign President Kibaki is about to arrive.

08:59am - The crowd goes wild as Prime Minister Raila Odinga arrives in the company of his wife Ida and children escorted by a battery of security detail and waves to the ecstatic crowd as he is led to the dias.

8.58am - Vice President  Kalonzo Musyoka arrives with his wife Pauline to a warm reception.

8.57am - Goldenberg architect Kamlesh Pattni arrives to mixed reactions at Uhuru Park.

8.46am - Chief Justice Evan Gicheru, Attorney General Amos Wako and House Speaker Kenneth Marende arrive dress in their official gowns and take their place at the dias.

8.45am - Celebrated female Kenya Boxer Congestina Achieng makes a grand entry dressed in a sparkling white track suit to wild cheers as she shadow boxes to the delight of the crowd.

8.37am - Lancaster veteran Ngala Mwendwa arrives with his wife and is escorted to the dias as the Armed Forces Band plays ‘Kenya Taifa Letu song’. Also arriving is US ambassador Michael Ranneberger.

8.30am - Former President Moi arrives and is escorted to the dais amidst tight security but receives a hostile reception from the crowd who broke into chants of ‘Yote Yawezekana bila Moi’- the 2002 NARC campaign song. Master of Ceremony Sammy Lui pleads with the crowd to be calm and exercise restrain and decorum for the former president.

8.25am - Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi arrives hand-in-hand with his wife Tessy and followed closely by his counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta and Cabinet Ministers Mutula Kilonzo, Yusuf Haji  and Fred Gumo and their spouses. All ministers adorned in gold-coloured sashes.

08:15am - MPs arrive in three buses after a short ride from Parliament buildings. Women legislators resplendent in national colours of black, red, green and white. Cabinet Minister arrive in a separate buses from the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC).

08:07am - Catholic prelate John Cardinal Njue arrives at the venue to cheers from the multitudes. Cardinal Njue led church leaders in opposing the new Constitution but decided to accept the results of the referendum that passed it on August 4. Some jeers can be heard from the crowd.

Kenyans begun stream into Nairobi's Uhuru Park - the venue of a grand ceremony on Friday to usher in their new Constitution.

The grounds are already jam-packed with multitudes after the first to arrive took their positions as early as 4am, braving a chilly weather and a light drizzle.