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Kenyan opposition leader, Raila Odinga, has defiled government’s warning and sworn-in himself as “the people’s president” and could face treason trial.
The government had warned that he risked being charged for treason, an offence punishable by death.
In spite of the warning, he took a symbolic oath of office on Tuesday.
Odinga, who boycotted the country’s disputed election last year, swore himself in as the “people’s president” at a mock inauguration ceremony Tuesday in protest against President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Thousands of opposition supporters gathered at Uhuru Park in central Nairobi to attend the “swearing-in” protest event, which was organized by Odinga’s National Super Alliance (NASA).
Police fired tear gas in an attempt to disperse crowds pulling down signs near the park on Tuesday.
Kenyans or NASA supporters if you wish are so resilient. Uhuru park is parked. #NASAOathDay #RailaSwearingIn #FreedomIsComing #DemocracyOrChaos #mediashutdown pic.twitter.com/KxuAXMDv7I
Authorities had earlier said they would put a stop to any illegal meetings, but Reuters reported that no uniformed police could be seen in the park and no anti-riot officers or vehicles were visible.
Kenyatta won a second presidential term with 98% of the vote following a controversial election re-run in November.
The country’s Supreme Court nullified the previous ballot, also won by Kenyatta, due to “illegalities and irregularities.”
Odinga and his opposition party dropped out of the second vote, claiming the election commission had failed to implement any reforms.
A tweet by Msh Cnn @mshcnn said: “Kenya opposition leader Raila Odinga swears himself in as ‘president’’.
Ozymandias @jalvinz also reported that Odinga “swears an oath of office, declaring himself president of the East African nation ‘’.
Tension is rising across Kenya and other countries in East Africa as defeated presidential candidate Raila Odinga prepares his “inauguration”.
Authorities had warned that the move to swear-in Odinga is a treason that is punishable by death
Odinga’s security details have withdrawn and his passports and that of his running mate Mr. Kalonzo Musyoka revoked.
They are not allowed to leave the country.
Reports on social media, especially that of TV Uganda, say that four Kenyan Television stations have been shut down for airing Raila Odinga’s intending swearing-in ceremony.
Odinga lost an Aug. 8 presidential election that was nullified by the Supreme Court, and boycotted a repeat poll on Oct. 25, saying it would not be free and fair.