UHURU Kenyatta has been sworn in for a second five-year term as president of Kenya in a colourful ceremony that few believe will signal the end of political instability in the east African country.
Kenyatta, 56, won a rerun presidential election last month, boycotted by the opposition, which said it would not be free and fair.
As the president appeared before the 60 000-strong crowd in Nairobi’s Kasarani Stadium for the inauguration, at least one person was reported killed, as police fired rifles and teargas to break up opposition supporters gathered a few miles away to hear Raila Odinga, the main opposition leader.
Odinga, 75, spoke briefly before being forced into a car by volleys of teargas from police. He told the crowd he would be “sworn in as president” by his own supporters later this month and called Kenyatta’s government “illegitimate”.
The political turmoil in East Africa’s richest and most developed economy was triggered when Kenya’s Supreme Court nullified the first presidential election in August over irregularities. Turnout in the rerun was only 39 percent. Kenyatta won with a crushing majority.
Supporters wearing the red and yellow of the ruling Jubilee party, many carrying Kenyan flags, filled the stadium terraces and cheered wildly as the incumbent president was sworn into office and as he received a 21-gun salute.
Thousands of others waited outside. Some overwhelmed police and streamed in. Officers were forced to fire teargas to control them.
“I… do swear… that I will always truly and diligently serve the people of the Republic of Kenya,” Kenyatta said with his hand on a Bible.
“The elections are now firmly behind us… I will devote my time and energy to build bridges.”
The ceremony was attended by heads of state from across the East Africa region.
Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, who is on a visit to Kenya, pulled out of the ceremony over “security concerns”.
Supporters of Kenyatta said they wanted the opposition to engage in talks and move on.
“I’m sure Uhuru will be able to bring people together and unite them so we can all work for the country,” said Eunice Jerobon, a trader who travelled overnight from the Rift Valley town of Kapsabet for the inauguration.
Kenya is now more polarised and divided that at any time since ethnic violence killed more than a thousand people in 2008, observers say.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015