JOHANNESBURG, November 29 – Controversial Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga has declared that “he will be sworn-in as the people’s president” on December 12 despite his nemesis, Uhuru Kenyatta, having been officially inaugurated as the president of Kenya on Tuesday, the Daily Nation reports.
Jamhuri Day is a national holiday in Kenya, celebrated on 12 December each year. Jamhuri is the Swahili word for “republic” and the holiday is meant to officially mark the date of Kenya’s independence, which happened on 12 December 1963.
Odinga, the leader of the opposition National Super Alliance (Nasa), lost the rerun October 26 presidential election to Kenyatta as well as the initial August 8 election, which were subsequently annulled on the grounds of electoral irregularities.
The Nasa leader uttered his challenge on Tuesday as police fought running battles with opposition supporters.
“We won in the August 8 elections and we decided we were not going to have anything to do with the October 26 elections. At Jacaranda we said we don’t recognise Uhuru as the president,” said Odinga.
“On 12th of December I will be sworn in as the people’s president,” Odinga stated as he upped the ante in the ongoing controversy and political unrest swirling around the East African country’s elections.
Nasa supporters attempted early Tuesday morning to attend a prayer service and memorial at the Jacaranda grounds in Embakasi, in the capital Nairobi, for the more than 50 people killed in previous election-related violence.
However, clashes broke out as the police prevented them entering the grounds by firing teargas and beating some of them. Police had earlier warned Odinga’s supporters that they had no permission to hold the memorial – a warning subsequently ignored.
In other violence on Kenyatta’s inauguration day, which marked his second term as president, police shot dead a seven-year-old boy, Geoffrey Mutinda, in Nairobi’s Eastlands. The child was playing on the balcony of his family’s first floor apartment when he was shot.
An eye-witnesses said the shooting was carried out by non-uniformed Administration Police officers riding a motorcycle.
The area had experienced protests earlier in the day, but at the time of the shooting calm had returned, the boy’s family said.
“There were no demonstrations or political rallies here. We do not know why the police shot. They were riding on a motorcycle and shooting indiscriminately,” the boy’s father Peter Mutuku said.
Following the fatal shooting, which targeted the child’s head, residents used boulders and old tyres to barricade roads into the estate to prevent police from accessing the estate to collect the body.
A neighbour of the Mutuku family, a pregnant woman, was also shot in the leg.