Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga had himself sworn in as an alternative president Tuesday in front of thousands of supporters, three months after an election he claims was stolen from him.
Authorities have repeatedly warned that such an inauguration was treasonous and that Odinga could face arrest.
However as the wording of the oath was different to that in the constitution, the consequences of this act of political theatre were unclear.
“I Raila Amolo Odinga, in full realisation of the high calling, assume the office of the People’s President of the Republic of Kenya,” he said in the brief and chaotic ceremony, prompting the sea of people to erupt with joy.
“We have accomplished our promise to Kenyans,” said Odinga before quickly departing, the packed venue emptying out in minutes. The ceremony followed hours of uncertainty as supporters waited in the baking sun and commentators speculated over whether the 72-year-old would actually go through with the “inauguration” that was already delayed in December.
It also came as outrage hit the media fraternity after government allegedly warned broadcasters not to cover the event, and pulled major television network Citizen TV off the air mid-morning. “President (Uhuru) Kenyatta expressly threatened to shut down and revoke the licences of any media house that would broadcast live,” the Editors’ Guild said in a statement, referring to a meeting that media bosses were summoned to last week.
“The guild is appalled by the details of the meeting which was held under an atmosphere of intimidation for the media representatives present.”