Kenya president sworn-in, rival Raila to follow suit

Nairobi, (Kenya): Uhuru Kenyatta was sworn in for his second term as Kenya’s president after two recent unfair elections that left the nation angry and divided.

The anger and division was palpable on Tuesday as National Super Alliance (Nasa) leader Raila Odinga announced that he too will be sworn in as “the people’s president” on Jamhuri Day (December 12), Daily Nation reports.

Odinga’s declaration came moments before police used teargas to stop him and his supporters from marching to Jacaranda grounds in Embakasi, Nairobi, for a prayer rally.

Speaking after his inauguration, Kenyatta said people should reject the politics of division. They all have to learn that it is fine to agree to disagree. There is need to strengthen the ties that bind Kenyans at every level of society.

He said he would try to incorporate some of the opposition’s ideas and devote “time and energy” to building bridges. He also admitted that the extended election season has divided Kenya and hit its economy.

Chaotic scenes

While pomp and gaiety marked Kenyatta’s swearing-in ceremony at Nairobi’s Kasarani stadium, chaos reigned at Jacaranda Grounds in Embakasi where rival National Super Alliance (Nasa) was planning a memorial for scores killed in clashes after the annulled August 8 elections and the farcical polls on October 26.

At Naoirobi’s slums, a Nasa stronghold, water cannon and armoured vehicles blocked roads leading to Jacaranda Grounds. Government trucks were busy ferrying waste and dumping them on the ground to thwart the rally. Police baton-charged youths who tried to stop the trucks.

Thousands of Kenyatta supporters who did not have seats at Kasarani stadium protested outside as the event organizers failed to put up big screens in an open space. Police used water cannon and fired teargas on people who tried to force their way in.

Kenyatta’s second term comes after the Supreme Court validated his victory in the October elections which the Opposition boycotted. Only 7.6 million of the 19.6 million registered voters voted and Kenyatta won by a landslide.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga called the election a sham and refused to recognise the result.