Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga was “sworn in” as “People’s President” on Tuesday, reciting an oath of office in front of hundreds of cheering supporters despite warnings that the staged ceremony could amount to treason.
“I, Raila Odinga, … do swear that I’ll be faithful and bear true allegiance to the people and Republic of Kenya,” said Odinga to applause at Nairobi’s Uhuru Park, wearing a black and gold fez and white shirt.
Several local television channels were taken off the air Tuesday morning to prevent any screening of the event.
A political crisis erupted in Kenya after the Supreme Court threw out the results of an August election – won by President Uhuru Kenyatta – due to irregularities.
A re-run of the election was held on October 26. Kenyatta won by a huge margin after Odinga boycotted it and called it a “sham.”
Several people were killed in clashes over a three-day period during the vote.
After Kenyatta’s inauguration, the Odinga immediately vowed to hold his own swearing in, which the attorney-general last year said could amount to treason.
On the eve of the “inauguration” the non-profit International Crisis Group warned that the swearing-in could “provoke protests, further police crackdowns and much avoidable destruction and bloodshed, while deepening already dangerous levels of polarization.”