Kenya president Kenyatta sworn in, rival Odinga promises own inauguration

Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya President

Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya's President

Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya President

President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya was sworn in for a second term on Tuesday, shortly before riot police teargassed the convoy of opposition leader Raila Odinga who told supporters he would be sworn in himself on Dec. 12.

Kenyatta won a repeat presidential election on Oct. 26 that was boycotted by Odinga, who said it would not be free and fair.

The Supreme Court nullified the first presidential election, in August, over irregularities.

Kenyatta’s speech acknowledged that the extended election season has divided Kenya, a Western ally in a volatile region, and blunted growth in East Africa’s richest economy.

“The elections are now firmly behind us … I will devote my time and energy to build bridges,” Kenyatta told the rapturous crowd in a sports stadium in the capital of Nairobi as he formally began his second, five-year term.

He said Kenyans needed to “free ourselves from the baggage of past grievances, and … keep to the rule of law”.

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Supporters of Kenyatta, who won with 98 per cent of the vote after Odinga’s boycott, want Odinga to engage in talks and move on.

Odinga says talk of unity is tantamount to surrender.

Minutes after Odinga spoke, riot police teargassed his convoy and charged the crowd.

The opposition had planned to hold a prayer meeting, saying it wanted to commemorate the lives of Odinga supporters killed during confrontations with the security forces over the election period.

No fewer than 70 people have been killed in political violence this election season, mostly by the police.

Such killings are rarely investigated.