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Kenya - President's flag

Last modified: 2023-03-25 by bruce berry
Keywords: kenya | president |
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image by Martin Grieve, 23 Feb 2023

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Unlike in most other countries, in Kenya the Presidential Standard is designed by the President-elect and thus changes with each new incumbent reports the Kenya Ministry of Defence. In Kenya, the Presidential Standard symbolises power and represents the Commander-in-Chief.
Bruce Berry, 16 April 2013

President of Kenya flag (2022 - )

William Kipchirchir Samoel Arap Ruto became the fifth president of Kenya on 13 September 2022 after winning the 2022 Presidential election.

Kenyan President, Willaim Ruto, has revised his personal standard after only one month in office. He has added a narrow green border around the field of his yellow flag (this is not a fringe).

According to a recent newspaper article,  "The yellow standard that was unveiled during his inauguration at Kasarani stadium a month ago now has a green outline. Every other component of the
flag has remained as it was before, consisting of a black wheelbarrow, two crossed spears and a shield in the Kenyan flag’s colours."
Martin Grieve, 23 Feb 2023

image by Hemendra Bhola, 13 Sept 2022

The Presidential Standard initially used by Ruto had a yellow field, in the centre of which are two crossed spears in saltire superimposed on a shield similar to that found on the Kenya national flag. Between the spears in the fly is a wheelbarrow, which is the symbol of the United Democratic Alliance Party (UDA) which is headed by Ruto and won the parliamentary election.  Yellow is the predominant colour of the UDA.

The crossed spears and the shield symbolise unity and readiness to defend the country's freedom.
Hemendra Bhola and Nozomi Kariyasu, 15 Sept 2022

President of Kenya flag (2013 - 2022)

image sent by Esteban Rivera, 21 Feb 2017

Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta took the oath of office on 09 April 2013 after narrowly winning the March 2013 Presidential election. The new Presidential Standard is similar to that used by his father Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, the first President of Kenya. It has a dark blue field with a version of the national shield in the centre, crossed by two large spears and a white dove on the right hand side.

On taking the oath of office, President Uhuru Kenyatta was handed the instruments of power. Former President Kibaki's Standard was then lowered and given to the Military Provost Marshal Colonel Sylvester Chirchir who later gave the Standard to the Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces General Julius Karangi. General Karangi then handed over the Standard to the immediate former President Mwai Kibaki marking the end of his 10 year term as the Head of State.
Bruce Berry, 16 April 2013

President of Kenya flag (2002 - 2013)

image by Miles Li, 06 Jan 2008

The Presidential Standard of immediate former President Mwai Kibaki was white, adorned with a shield in the centre bearing the Kenya national colours between two olive branches. The olive branches signify peace which returned to the country following President Kibaki's assuming office in 2002.
Bruce Berry, 16 April 2013

The recent presidential elections in Kenya resulted in the transfer of power to the opposition candidate Mwai Kibaki. A newspaper report from the inauguration ceremony, describes a new interim presidential flag. In its Tuesday, 31 December 2002 online edition The East African Standard wrote:

"The Presidential Standard of the just-retired President Moi was lowered and Kibaki's hoisted. Former President Moi's Presidential Standard was green in colour, with a shield in the middle and a cockerel next to it. The shield has national colours. In contrast, the new Presidential Standard flag is a brilliant white in backdrop, and adorned with a shield in the middle, bearing national colours and a coat of arms as well."

Jan Oskar Engene, 31 Dec 2002

image by Martin Grieve, 26 Feb 2023

There is another Presidential flag which was white and is charged in the centre with the Armorial Bearings in generous proportions.

The flag is illustrated in Album des Pavillon 2003 Corr 3.  Roberto Bresch also illustrates it on his Bandiera webpage which says:
"Flag of President Emilio Mwai Kibaki, adopted in early 2003. Proportions 2/3. White drape which, in the first version, bore the national coat of arms in the centre.  A little later the flag appears modified: the coat of arms is replaced by the Masai shield alone, like that of the national flag, superimposed on two crossed spears and surrounded by a wreath of leaves. Replaced in 2013."

This flag is also illustrated on (an obviously out of date) on the World Flag Database.

I am curious to know what this flag's status actually was as I took a look at Kibaki's inauguration on YouTube, and although the film was very grainy, it looks like the version with the shield in the centre was the one hoisted.
Martin Grieve, 26 Feb 2023

President of Kenya flag (1978 - 2002)

[Kenyan president according to Smith 1985] image by Željko Heimer, 30 Mar 2002

The Presidential Standard of Kenya's second President, Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi, was green with a shield in the centre and a red cockerel on the right between the spears. The cockerel was as a sign of new and prosperous life.
Bruce Berry, 16 April 2013

This was a green flag with Masai shield in the centre, similar but not the same as in the national flag, and two golden spears in saltire pointed down, and in fly a red rooster. Two main sources for this are Album 2000. and smi80. They differ mainly in the look of the white stitching along the shield edges. According to Armand Noël du Payrat, his version was approved by Michel Lupant.
Source: Album 2000.
Željko Heimer, 30 Mar 2002

Smith gives more detail on the symbolism of this flag:

"Jomo Kenyatta, the man who led Kenya to independence, also served as its first president. His first name means "burning spear" -- hence the spears on the presidential standard. Blue is for the skies over Kenya. The cockerel here and in the national arms is a traditional herald of a new and prosperous life, but it is also familiar to Kenyans as the emblem of the Kenya African National Union."

By the time of the original 1978 edition of Barraclough and Crampton's 1981 "Flags of the World", the standard's field colour had changed:

"The Standard of the President is dark green, with a small version of the shield crossed by two large assegais [sic] in the centre, and near the fly edge a golden cockerel. The latter is the emblem of KANU."
Source: [c2b81], page 151.

However, Smith 1985 shows a medium shade of green, certainly lighter than the bottom stripe of the national flag, and the cockerel is *red* not golden. Since this is simply the Spanish, updated edition of Smith 1980, I believe the image was taken from this book.
Santiago Dotor, 23 Feb 2000

President of Kenya flag (1970 - 1978)

[Kenyan president] image by Eugene Baldwin, 02 Nov 1998

The Presidential Standard of President Jomo Kenyatta was changed in 1970 to a standard with a blue background with spears and shield. The blue signified the skies over Kenya while the spears are a reference to his first name which means "burning spear".
Bruce Berry, 16 April 2013

First presidential flag (1963-1970)

[First presidential flag - revised] image by Željko Heimer, 15 Apr 2002

The first President of Kenya, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, (1963-1970) initially used a flag which followed the basic design of the Kenya national flag, but with the full Coat of Arms on a black square in the centre of the flag instead of the shield and spears.
Željko Heimer, 15 Apr 2002

Presidential Colour

image by Željko Heimer, 04 Jan 2008

In both the Kenya Army and the Kenya Air Force, the Colours (ceremonial flags) of regiments come in pairs : the Presidential Colour (equivalent to the Queen's Colour of the UK and the National Color of the US) and Regimental Colour. The Presidential Colour follows the common pattern of being a golden fringed version of the National Flag, with the central badge replaced by the Coat-of-Arms; in fact this is identical to the previous Presidential flag, apart from the 4:5 proportion (presumably 3 feet by 3 feet 9 inches following the British practice).
Miles Li, 04 Jan 2008