Months after balking at the plan and raising doubts about whether it would make good on its promise, Kenya’s long-standing political challenger Raila Odinga has been sworn in as the “people’s president.”
More than 2,000 supporters of Odinga and his National Super Alliance coalition (NASA) gathered in a park in the capital Nairobi for the event Tuesday, according to Reuters.
“I, Raila Omolo Odinga, do swear that I will protect the nation as people’s president, so help me God,” he said as the crowd cheered.
His deputy, Kalonzo Musyoka, was not with him, but Odinga says he will be sworn in later.
Several news outlets have been taken off air for attempting to broadcast it, the news agency also reported.
The 2017’s presidential election was held twice after the Supreme Court overturned the result of August’s initial vote.
Odinga quit the repeat presidential polls in October of 2017, saying the election wouldn’t be free and fair and accusing the government of using its majority in both houses of parliament to orchestrate a win.
Following the boycott, president Uhuru Kenyatta was declared the winner, with over 98% of the vote, granting him a second term in office.
Odinga dismissed the election as a “sham” and a “meaningless exercise,” and called for the creation of a “people’s assembly” that will be responsible for an economic boycott, peaceful protests, and constitutional change.
That assembly was set to swear him on Decemebr 12, but the event never took place.
The swearing-in poses a constitutional crisis for Kenya and heightens the political impasse that has gripped the East African nation since August last year.
Last week, the opposition National Super Alliance (NASA) released new results claiming that Odinga had won the original August elections, and will use those results as the basis to swear him in.
The electoral commission has refuted those claims.