By Tobby Otum
President Uhuru Kenyatta was among several African leaders at the inauguration of Djibouti President Ismaïl Omar Guelleh in the country’s capital city Djibouti.
President Kenyatta, who is the current Chairperson of the East African Community, was accompanied by Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali, Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Roble and South Sudan Vice President Rebecca Nyandeng Garang De Mabior also attended the inauguration held at the Presidential Palace, Djibouti.
Others were IGAD Executive Secretary Dr Workneh Gebeyehu and African Union Commission Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat.
President Guelleh, 73, garnered 97 percent of the vote in last month’s election to secure a fifth term in office.
In his inauguration address, President Guelleh called on African nations to unite and embrace integration to achieve the continent’s development aspirations.
He reiterated Djibouti’s commitment to the various continental multilateral initiatives aimed at building a resilient African economy among them the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
“Africa will be powerful if it is united. It will be rich if we are together, if our countries cooperate and complement each other in pursuit of our common vision of strong and efficient states,” President Guelleh said.
President Guelleh called for a speedy resolution of the conflicts affecting parts of Africa saying peace and stability are a pre-requisite for the continent’s sustainable economic and social development.
“We must work together relentlessly to safeguard this peace and stability. We must nurture our commitment to developing a continent of peace and stability,” the Djiboutian leader said.
As part of the elaborate inauguration ceremony, President Guelleh and First Lady Kadra Mahamoud Haid hosted a State luncheon at the Presidential Palace in honour of visiting dignitaries that was attended by President Kenyatta.
Kenya and Djibouti enjoy strong diplomatic relations that date back to 1977 when the Horn Africa nation gained independence from France. In 2007, Djibouti established resident diplomatic representation in Nairobi while Kenya opened a resident mission in Djibouti in 2020.
The two countries also belong to several regional, continental and global multilateral institutions among them Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and AfCFTA.
In February this year, Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) signed a Shs 709 million contract to drill three geothermal wells in Djibouti.