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Kenya celebrates new president

Crowds cheered during the inauguration ceremony of Kenya's president, Uhuru Kenyatta, in Kasarani, on the outskirts of Nairobi Tuesday. Kenyatta faces charges of crimes against humanity for his alleged role in electoral vilence in 2007.

Dai Kurokawa/EPA

Crowds cheered during the inauguration ceremony of Kenya's president, Uhuru Kenyatta, in Kasarani, on the outskirts of Nairobi Tuesday. Kenyatta faces charges of crimes against humanity for his alleged role in electoral vilence in 2007.

NAIROBI — Uhuru Kenyatta, the son of Kenya’s founding president, ascended to the country’s top office Tuesday during a jubilant celebration that began a new era in Kenyan politics, one that forces the United States and Europe into a diplomatic balancing act.

Amid the dancing and cheering of a sea of red-clad supporters, Kenyatta, his deputy, and Uganda’s president made known their displeasure at US and European efforts to steer Kenyan voters to another candidate, the outgoing prime minister, Raila Odinga.

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The United States and Europe had hoped to avoid having a Kenyan leader who is the second sitting African president to face International Criminal Court charges. Kenyatta, 51, faces charges of crimes against humanity for allegedly helping to orchestrate the vicious tribe-on-tribe violence that marred Kenya’s 2007 presidential election.

The United States has said a Kenyatta win would have ‘‘consequences,’’ though many analysts think the effects will turn out to be minimal, given that Kenya is the lynchpin of East Africa’s economy and is a major security partner, especially in the fight against Somali militants.

‘‘I want to salute the Kenyan voters on one other issue — the rejection of the blackmail by the International Criminal Court and those who seek to abuse this institution for their own agenda,’’ Uganda’s president, Yoweri Museveni, told the boisterous crowd.

‘‘They are now using it to install leaders of their choice in Africa and eliminate the ones they do not like,’’ he said.

Incoming Deputy President William Ruto — who also faces ICC charges for the 2007-08 violence — noted that he and Kenyatta won in the first round of voting despite the US warning.

As the swearing-in was administered, the crowd roared so loudly it interrupted the ceremony. The US ambassador attended, as did US civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, who was an invited guest of Kenyatta.

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