Kenya’s main opposition leader is scheduled to be sworn in as president. Just one problem: The country already has a president.
Raila Odinga, leader of the National Super Alliance, a coalition of center-left opposition parties, is preparing for an inauguration Tuesday to install him as a “people’s president” and create an alternative government — in protest of the recent reelection of President Uhuru Kenyatta.
“It’s a combination of a symbolic gesture which calls into question the legitimacy of the de facto government, while at the same time provides alternative leadership both for the presidency and for the parliament,” said Salim Lone, a longtime advisor to Odinga. “It’s a very crucial moment.”
The country’s attorney general said it would amount to treason, an offense punishable by death.
Kenyatta, who has been president since 2013, was reelected in October after the country’s Supreme Court annulled the original Aug. 8 election, blaming the electoral commission for what it called “illegalities and irregularities.”
Odinga, who was pursuing his fourth shot at the presidency, boycotted the rerun, arguing that the electoral commission had done too little to ensure a fair election.
Kenyatta, head of the ruling Jubilee Party, was sworn in for a second term Nov. 28.
On Friday, the opposition released what it called “authentic” election results that purport to show that Odinga won the original election, the Associated Press reported. But it was unclear how the data was obtained.
The opposition has urged its followers to come out for Tuesday’s swearing-in ceremony, which is scheduled to take place in sprawling Uhuru Park in the capital, Nairobi, even as authorities announced that it has been closed for maintenance.
The opposition has created a “People’s Assembly” to operate as a shadow government following Odinga’s “inauguration.”
There is concern that the event will trigger violence.
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