Kenya's Odinga to be 'sworn in' as president regardless of warning


After the event at Uhuru Park in Nairobi, he changed his Twitter profile to identify himself as "His Excellency Raila Amolo Odinga, sworn in as the People's President on 30/1/2018".

National Super Alliance (NASA) frontman Odinga refused to recognize his rival Uhuru Kenyatta as the legitimate President ever since the latter rushed to victory with 98 per cent of the vote in the controversial October 2017 election re-run.

Kenya's opposition leader will be sworn in as president on January 30, but there is one problem: Kenya already has a president, Uhuru Kenyatta.

In December, Githu Muigai, Kenya's Attorney General, said that Odinga's alternative swearing-in ceremony would amount to treason.

By 6am GMT, about 400 people were gathered in Uhuru Park, near Nairobi's main business district.

The government had warned that Odinga and anyone who participates in the "illegal" inauguration would be charged with treason, a charge that attracts the death penalty.

Earlier, Mombasa Deputy Governor William Kingi said the Communication Authority's shutdown of local TV stations was "draconian, intemperate and totally uncalled-for".

Odinga said the vice president would be sworn in at a later date. Image of supporters awaiting Raila Odinga from Reuters.

Since boycotting the re-run poll, citing a lack of reform at the election commission, NASA's strategy has been to challenge Kenyatta's legitimacy by seeking to establish parallel government structures. "Today is a historical day and Kenyans have taken a bold step to get themselves out of dictatorship brought by theft of votes", Raila told the jubilant cheering crowd.

While threats have been made in the past, the government switching off media broadcasting signals is unusual, the BBC reported.

By 10:20 a.m. (0720 GMT), a number of independently owned media outlets including Citizen radio and television, NTV and KTN said that authorities had forced them off air.

"It was prudent for the police to keep off a largely peaceful ceremony and prevent a risky altercation with opposition supporters", said Manyora.

Several elected Nasa leaders in a bid to boost the morale of their supporters streamed in at the park and assured them that the ceremony is still on and they should not tire in waiting.