Kenya TV stations to remain off-air after Odinga 'inauguration'

Kenya TV stations to remain off-air after Odinga 'inauguration'

Kenya TV stations to remain off-air after Odinga 'inauguration'

"Today is a historic day for the people of Kenya", Odinga said in a speech after taking his oath.

The move sets east Africa's richest country on a risky path towards a constitutional crisis at best, and at worst a repeat of the election violence that left over a thousand dead in 2007.

The East African country's Supreme Court annulled August's presidential election result saying the electoral commission committed "irregularities and illegalities" during the vote, harming the integrity of the election. That came after at least 67 people were killed during protests after the first vote, according to Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

Riots after the August election produced a number of deaths. The industry regulator is yet to give a comprehensive report on the shutdown but on 29 January, the government threatened to switch off and revoke the licenses of media houses that cover the controversial swearing-in of the opposition leader.

The Presidential Strategic Communication Unit (PSCU) only let in the State-owned Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) and K24, which is associated with the Kenyatta family.

Kenyatta had also been declared victor of the August election, but the Supreme Court later nullified that result, over irregularities.

The Odinga inaugural event was not staged as satire or mockery.

Afterwards, he updated his Twitter profile to call himself "President of the Republic of Kenya".

Odinga told reporters his inauguration represented the fulfillment of a "promise to Kenyans".

The swearing-in took place at a mass rally of supporters at Nairobi's Uhuru Park.

Opposition politicians have convened so-called "people's assemblies" in some counties and the inauguration of Odinga as "people's president" is seen as the culmination of this process. The electoral commission called those results "fake".

However as the wording of the oath was different to that in the constitution, the consequences of this act of political theater were unclear.

The Anglican bishop said the situation is causing anxiety among Kenyans and predicted both sides "might start to fight each other as they defend their masters".

"The persons involved in their creation are involved in extra-constitutional activity and may be visited by the full force of the law", he warned.

Linus Kaikai, chairman of Kenya's editors guild, accused Kenyatta of undermining the independence of news media during a meeting at the State House in Nairobi last week.

"He's anxious that after successive failed attempts to win the presidency, his political capital is running out", Atwell said. Thirty-two year old hairdresser, Benta Akinyi said: "Odinga is the one we recognize as the president and that is why we are swearing him in".

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