On 13 September, William Ruto was sworn in as the country’s president. The dispute with Odinga – who, together with his vice-president-designate, did not turn up for Ruto’s inauguration – is now over.

Already the day after his inauguration, the new president immediately started to take the first steps. On the domestic front, even before the government took office, he decided to remove the state subsidy that cut petrol costs. The President announced the end of the subsidy programme, stating that it would cost the country £2 billion by the end of the current financial year in June 2023. “This is equivalent to the entire development budget of the national government,” he said, adding that the subsidies had failed to achieve the goal of lowering the cost of living.

What created a stir was the decision to take a measure that will most likely impact on the cost of living, causing inflation, by the candidate who most of all, in the election campaign, had been the spokesperson of the common people by assuring to stop the high cost of living this year (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-62916580).

The other measure, which will start on Monday 19, concerns fertiliser in the country, now at $54, and which from next week will be sold (1.4 million 50kg bags), at the capped price of $29, to farmers in the country. The aim of this measure is to give a stimulus to domestic agricultural production (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-62916580).

In terms of foreign policy, the new President William Ruto issued a tweet, just a day after taking office, in which he cut relations with the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SAADR). The republic, also known as Western Sahara, claims national sovereignty from Morocco and is recognised by 87 countries – including Kenya, but is still considered a non-autonomous state by the UN. In a statement, he said his government has started a process to reduce the entity’s presence in the country. The country supports the UN framework as the sole mechanism for finding a lasting solution to the dispute over Western Sahara.

The announcement came shortly after Ruto received a congratulatory message from His Majesty King Mohammed VI of Morocco. The president of Western Sahara himself was present at the inaugural ceremony of Ruto’s presidency. The tweet was removed the next day (https://www.bbc.com/news/topics/c40rjmqdlzzt/kenya).


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