Tension In Kenya Ahead Of Odinga's Banned Inauguration

01 February, 2018, 00:57 | Author: Jacqueline Daniels

Thousands gathered in Nairobi's Uhuru Park to watch Mr Odinga take the ceremonial oath of office in the face of global pressure and security concerns.

"Today is a historic day for the people of Kenya".

'What was witnessed at Uhuru Park was a well-choreographed attempt to subvert or overthrow the legally-constituted government of the Republic of Kenya, Interior Minister Fred Matiangi said in a statement.

Despite the Government threats to shut down and revocation of operating licences of any media outlets that covers the event live the Kenya Editors Guild condemned the threat and told the media houses to reject it and go ahead to cover the event. He boycotted a repeat poll on October 25, saying it would not be free and fair.

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After initially vowing to block the gathering, police kept their distance, but a furore broke out after the Communication Authority shut down three of the country's main private television channels who were covering the ceremony.

"As an external observer and also a player in the political and security space of East Africa, especially Kenya, I find it quite troubling that the flag-bearer of the opposition NASA party Mr Raila Odinga would have himself sworn in as President even though he withdrew from the election that saw his main contender President Uhuru Kenyatta emerge victor".

Almost 100 people were killed over the prolonged election period, mostly in clashes between Odinga supporters and police.

The East African country's Supreme Court annulled August's presidential election result saying the electoral commission committed "irregularities and illegalities" during the vote, harming the integrity of the election. At least 92 people were killed previous year as election turmoil gripped the country.

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"Odinga voluntarily withdrew from the election, which election did he win that he is declaring himself president?"

But in Odinga's strongholds, which are mostly composed of his Luo tribe and other allied ethnic groups, there has been enormous frustration with Kenyatta's government. Odinga took his oath to the deafening cheers of supporters before speaking briefly and swiftly departing.

The legislator, who administered the controversial oath during the event held at Uhuru Park Grounds, was arrested at Milimani Law Courts on Wednesday afternoon. "We are suffering as Kenyans". "This is betrayal in the city for "Jakom" (Raila), how can they abandon him", said one woman wearing a chain of plastic oranges.

But Naftali Muigai, a Kenyatta supporter, said the opposition move was illegal and divisive. "Swearing themselves in is just drama since we already have a legitimate government in place".

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Then, as now, the bishops called on Uhuru's Jubilee party and Odinga's NASA to come to the table and save the country from violence.

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