Raila Odinga, Kenya’s Opposition Leader, Sworn Himself In As Peoples President
Kenyan opposition leader, Raila Odinga, has defiled government’s warning and sworn-in himself as “the people’s president” and could face treason trial.
The government had warned that he risked being charged for treason, an offence punishable by death.
In spite of the warning, he took a symbolic oath of office on Tuesday.
Odinga, who boycotted the country’s disputed election last year, swore himself in as the “people’s president” at a mock inauguration ceremony Tuesday in protest against President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Thousands of opposition supporters gathered at Uhuru Park in central Nairobi to attend the “swearing-in” protest event, which was organized by Odinga’s National Super Alliance (NASA).
Police fired tear gas in an attempt to disperse crowds pulling down signs near the park on Tuesday.
Authorities had earlier said they would put a stop to any illegal meetings, but Reuters reported that no uniformed police could be seen in the park and no anti-riot officers or vehicles were visible.
Kenyatta won a second presidential term with 98% of the vote following a controversial election re-run in November.
The country’s Supreme Court nullified the previous ballot, also won by Kenyatta, due to “illegalities and irregularities.”
Odinga and his opposition party dropped out of the second vote, claiming the election commission had failed to implement any reforms.
Authorities had warned that the move to swear-in Odinga is a treason that is punishable by death
Odinga’s security details have withdrawn and his passports and that of his running mate Mr. Kalonzo Musyoka revoked.
They are not allowed to leave the country.
Reports on social media, especially that of TV Uganda, say that four Kenyan Television stations was shut down for airing Raila Odinga’s intending swearing-in ceremony.
Odinga lost an Aug. 8 presidential election that was nullified by the Supreme Court, and boycotted a repeat poll on Oct. 25, saying it would not be free and fair.