Johannesburg, November 28 – President Uhuru Kenyatta was sworn in for his second and final five-year term on Tuesday to thunderous cheers from tens of thousands of supporters waving Kenyan flags at the Kasarani Sports Stadium in the capital Nairobi.
“I will obey, protect and defend the constitution of Kenya as law established and all other laws of the republic”, said Kenyatta, clutching a Bible as he took the oath of office.
He also pledged to “protect and uphold, the sovereignty, integrity and dignity of the people of Kenya”.
The oath was followed by a 21-gun salute, as the heads of state from 20 different countries looked on.
Clashes broke out earlier in the morning between supporters of Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga and riot police in full gear who beat youths who crossed their paths while shooting teargas indiscriminately in an attempt to stop the supporters attending a memorial service at the Jacaranda grounds in Embakasi, Nairobi.
Odinga’s National Super Alliance (NASA) party vowed on Monday that it planned to go ahead with a memorial service to commemorate and pray for the families of those killed by the police and what Odinaga described as government hired thugs, during previous election-related political violence.
The police warned that Tuesday’s memorial service had no permission to proceed. In response a lawyer for NASA stated that no such permission was required.
Large crowds gathered at Nairobi’s Kasarani stadium on Tuesday to watch the swearing-in of President Uhuru Kenyatta for a second term, after elections boycotted by the opposition.
Kenyan police had to use teargas to disperse a crowd trying to force their way into the venue, local media reported.
There was much pomp and ceremony ahead of the inauguration which is expected to be attended by several African heads of state as well as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The crisis in Kenya began after the Supreme Court threw out the results of an August election – won by Kenyatta – over irregularities.
A re-run election was held on October 26, but was boycotted by main opposition leader Raila Odinga who called it a “sham.”
Turnout was low and there were running battles between police and protesters. Kenyatta ultimately won a 98-per-cent landslide that his opponents described as illegitimate.