Reports say Kenya’s main opposition leader, Raila Odinga, has declared himself the “people’s president” at a controversial “swearing-in” ceremony in the capital yesterday.

Thousands of his supporters attended the event, despite a government warning that it amounted to treason.

The authorities shut down TV stations to prevent live coverage of the event.

President Uhuru Kenyatta was sworn in for a second term last November. He won an election re-run in October, but Mr Odinga boycotted it.

Elections were first held in August but the courts ordered a re-run, saying Mr Kenyatta’s victory was marred by irregularities.

Holding a Bible in his right hand at a park in Nairobi, Mr Odinga declared that he was answering to a “high[er] calling to assume the office of the people’s president of the Republic of Kenya”.

“People had had enough of election rigging and the event was a step towards establishing a proper democracy in the East African state,” said Mr Odinga.

His deputy, Kalonzo Musyoka, was not at the event, and Mr Odinga said Mr Musyoka would be “sworn-in” at a later date.

However, his absence suggested there were divisions in Mr Odinga’s National Super Alliance.


Why is the election result disputed?

Mr Kenyatta was officially re-elected with 98% of the vote on 26 October but just under 39% of voters turned out. He was inaugurated in November.

His victory is not recognised by Mr Odinga, who argues he was elected by a small section of the country.

Mr Kenyatta also won the original election on 8 August but that result was annulled by the Supreme Court, which described it as “neither transparent nor verifiable”.

When the repeat vote was called, Mr Odinga urged his supporters to shun it because he said no reforms had been made to the electoral commission.