The symbolic swearing in of Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga as the “people’s president” has raised political temperatures in the country, with the international community now calling for calm and respect of the rule of law.
Mr Odinga was sworn in on January 30 as “people’s president,” in a six-minute a ceremony that has resulted in a major crackdown on opposition politicians.
President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration has termed Mr Odinga’s action as treason.
The African Union Commission chairperson Moussa Mahamat has offered to mediate between President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga to defuse the growing political tension. Mr Mahamat appealed to the parties to avoid actions that could put Kenya’s stability at risk.
Riots broke out in Nairobi’s western suburbs of Kibera on Friday, where opposition supporters protested against the arrest of Miguna Miguna, a lawyer who was at Mr Odinga’s side during the oathing ceremony on Tuesday. A city MP, Timothy Kajwang, who also flanked Mr Odinga, was arrested on Wednesday and later released.
The opposition has vowed they will not recognise the election of President Kenyatta in the repeat elections in October, which Mr Odinga boycotted. They are demanding for electoral justice through comprehensive reform of the electoral system.
The European Union asked politicians to recognise President Kenyatta’s re-election and respect the Constitution and the rule of law. The United States called for national dialogue to end the tensions.