Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta has been sworn in for a second term as president of Kenya at a ceremony in the capital, Nairobi, amidst chaos & disorders but the opposition parties boycotted the swearing-in ceremony.
Kenyan police fired teargas and clashed with both ruling party and opposition supporters on Tuesday as Uhuru Kenyatta was sworn in as president after two disputed polls that have left the nation deeply divided.
Mr. Kenyatta was sworn in at the Kasarani stadium but the pomp and ceremony was overshadowed by chaos in another part of Nairobi, where police engaged in running battles with opposition supporters trying to gather for a rally. Opposition leader Raila Odinga, who boycotted an election re-run last month, mocked Tuesday’s “coronation”.
Uhuru and Ruto took their final term in office in a ceremony administered by Chief Registrar of the Judiciary Anne Amadi in the presence of Chief Justice David Maraga, in line with constitutional requirements. President Uhuru faces the challenge of uniting Kenyans and jump-starting the economy following divisive electoral processes that saw his main challenger and National Super Alliance (NASA) leader Raila Odinga, withdraw from the repeat presidential election of October 26. Uhuru was declared the winner by the electoral commission with 98 percent of the votes cast and the Supreme Court upheld his election after dismissing two election petitions challenging his win.
Meanwhile at the Kasarani stadium chaos erupted as a crowd attempted to force its way into the venue, prompting police to fire teargas at Kenyatta supporters who tried to fight their way in
“I just want to see President Uhuru Kenyatta because I voted for him, why are we being beaten like NASA (opposition),” said Janet Wambua, who was among the angry crowd.
Joseph Irungu of the interior ministry planning committee had said there was space for 40,000 people who did not get in to watch the event on big screens outside the stadium. However, no such screens were provided, further angering the crowd.
Around 13 mostly African heads of state are expected to attend the ceremony where Mr. Kenyatta, 56, will be sworn in for his second and final five-year term.
These include the presidents of South Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Zambia, and Somalia – among others – while prime ministers, foreign ministers, and special envoys will represent other African nations, as well as Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Ukraine and Serbia.
Two elections and a historic court case
Mr. Kenyatta’s inauguration comes after the Supreme Court validated his victory in last month’s rerun poll.
However, the swearing-in may not draw a line under the country’s political crisis with Mr. Odinga vowing to fight on.
The electoral strife goes back to an August 8 poll that was annulled in September by the Supreme Court, citing “irregularities and illegalities”.
The court ordered a rerun in October that was boycotted by the opposition. The disputed election season has split the country along ethnic and regional lines, although political violence has not reached the scale of that which followed a 2007 poll when 1,100 were killed.