Controversial ‘inauguration’ of Kenyan opposition leader postponed


JOHANNESBURG, December 11 – Tuesday’s planned “swearing-in” of Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga has been postponed easing fears of more political unrest in the East African country, and presenting a window of opportunity for possible talks with the government of President Uhuru Kenyatta, AP reports.

The opposition coalition the National Super Alliance (NASA) had planned to publicly “inaugurate” Odinga at a rally coinciding with Kenya’s Independence Day on Tuesday – an act the country’s attorney general warned would be an act of treason.

NASA said in a statement it would postpone the swearing-in after “consultations and engagement with a wide range of national and international interlocutors”.

Although none of the mediators were officially named, earlier reports stated that the US had warned of the possibility of targeted sanctions against individuals who continued to stymie talks aimed at bridging the political divide between the government and the opposition.

After winning the presidential re-run elections on October 26 Kenyatta was officially inaugurated for his second-term in office on November 28.

However, the re-run, which was ordered by the Supreme Court on the grounds of electoral irregularities during the first election on August 8, was boycotted by NASA supporters, with Odinga and his party vowing to neither recognise Kenyatta as president, nor the legitimacy of his Jubilee Party.

The coalition now says it will announce a new date for the swearing in as well as the launch of its People’s Assembly “as well as a more vigorous and prolonged resistance”.

For the time being more political violence has been stalled following 70 people losing their lives in election related violence earlier.

– African News Agency (ANA)