Kenya has begun a month of national mourning for President Jomo Kenyatta, who died in his sleep on Tuesday (22 August).
Kenya has begun a month of national mourning for President Jomo Kenyatta, who died in his sleep on Tuesday (22 August). Shortly after his death was announced, Vice President Daniel Arap Moi was sworn in as acting President. National elections for a new President must be held within 90 days.
SYNOPSIS: To the Kenyans, Jomo Kenyatta, their leader since independence 15 years ago, was "Mzee" -- the Wise Old Man. One official, when he heard the announcement, spoke for the nation when he said "I cannot imagine Kenya without him". From leader all round the world, messages have poured into State House in Nairobi paying tribute to the statesmanship of Jomo Kenyatta. Now the gap left by his death has to be filled, a successor has to be chosen.
Within hours of the president's death, Vice-President Daniel Arap Moi was sworn in as interim President at State House. He will have limited presidential powers for 90 days. By then, a new President must be elected, according to the constitution. Mr. Moi who has been Vice President for 11 years, is firm favourite to succeed to the leadership.
Members of President Kenyatta's cabinet watched the formal ceremony. Although he is not from Jomo Kenyatta's dominant Kikuyu tribe, Mr. Moi has the backing of most Government ministers, and he is expected to win the nomination of the Kenyan African National Union, the nation's sole political party. His personal grief showed as he spoke after the ceremony.
Most political observers predict a smooth transition to a government led by Mr. Moi. He is known to be an enthusiastic supporter of the Kenyatta policy of unity, with its slogan "Harambee" -- Lets all work together". The Attorney General Charles Njonjo explained the process of appointing a successor.