wnol.info February 19 2018


Raila Odinga 'sworn in' as Kenya's people's president

February 19 2018, 08:07 | Guillermo Bowen

Kenya: Averting an Avoidable Crisis

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Kenyan police have always been accused of using excessive force to crush political dissent and protests, according to human rights groups who have further stated that Kenyatta is moving towards a dictatorship.

Government lawyers have described the opposition ceremony as treason and it was unclear whether police would allow supporters to gather until hours before the meeting was scheduled to be held. Image of supporters awaiting Raila Odinga from Reuters.

It also blocked live television broadcasts of the event, sparking outrage days after the government allegedly warned broadcasters not to cover it.

However, the Interior Ministry did explain its decision to shut down the three television channels.

Odinga said the vice president would be sworn in at a later date.

Observers had said that the swearing-in would only further divide the nation and the crackdown on press freedom is likely to add to concerns about the state of Kenyan democracy.

"There's heavy security presence in my compound; they will tell us", he told journalists outside his residence, in the leafy suburb of Nairobi.

American officials met with Odinga and members of his party to warn them against proceeding with his plans for an inauguration, but they proceeded anyway, stating that Odinga was the true victor of the August election and the October re-vote was entirely invalid. But the Supreme Court annulled the results, saying there were voting irregularities and signs of fraud.

"A unilateral process of just switching off was not only a violation of media freedom, it was also a violation of fair administrative action, which is expected of any public officers, and runs afoul of Kenya's worldwide and human rights obligations, where Kenya sits as a member of the UN Human Rights Council", said Mr Maina. Many analysts suggested that Odinga had also pulled out of the race because he was unlikely to win.

The U.S. has advised Odinga against the so-called inauguration, as Kenya, East Africa's economic hub, tries to move beyond months of deadly election turmoil.

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. This proves that they do not have our interests at heart.

"You came from all corners of the republic to witness my inauguration and it was good to see you out in millions", he posted on Twitter on Tuesday evening.

Vitalis Otieno came by bus from the western city of Kisumu to witness the swearing in of "his president". Odinga is 73 years old and made his first official run at the presidency in 1997, although the BBC notes he was imprisoned in 1982 for plotting a coup attempt.

"There has been no meeting by the Kenya Editors' Guild Executive Committee to agree on, and issue the statement alleged to have been sent out by Kaikai", Maina said.

Odinga's supporters say he is Kenya's legitimate leader and Kenyatta's election was neither free nor fair. She warned that electoral commissioners and staff faced political intimidation and lived in fear they would be killed.



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