Kenya's Odinga to be "sworn in" as president despite warning

Posted January 31, 2018

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.

After boycotting October's election rerun, Odinga has continued to contest the president's legitimacy, culminating in today's ceremony.

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.

The parliamentary wing of the opposition National Resistance Movement has previously called on its supporters to boycott services and products from companies it claims is supporting Kenyatta's ruling Jubilee party.

Attorney General Githu Muigai told opposition leaders that the ceremony would amount to treason, since Kenyatta's government is already in power. "The people have gathered here in the hundreds of thousands to say enough is enough with the electoral rigging".

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Rotich suggested that clergy and members of the business community could form a "committee that will lead in bringing together all stakeholders at a discussion table".

Police at first had vowed to block opposition supporters from attending Tuesday's ceremony, leading to fears of violence.

Numerous protesters chanted pro-Odinga slogans, waved tree branches and blew horns and whistles. "We will not allow that", said Nairobi police chief Japheth Koome. "I'm very fed up with this. government".

Many of those at the rally had come from the capital's slums. Image of supporters awaiting Raila Odinga from Reuters.

"This is a lose-lose situation for both Kenyatta and Odinga and it was an entirely preventable crisis".

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The no-show sparked a blame game within the coalition with many expressing fear the event could have marked the beginning of the end of a marriage cobbled together a year ago to face President Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto.

Several people were killed in clashes over a three-day period during the vote.

A Communications Authority spokeswoman said it would comment later.

Linus Kaikai, chairman of Kenya's editors guild, accused Kenyatta of undermining the independence of news media during a meeting at the State House in Nairobi last week.

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