Kenya names opposition movement a criminal group

01 February 2018, 12:41 | Isaac Mcdaniel

Will NASA eventually have their ceremony at Uhuru Park?

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"I, Raila Omolo Odinga, do swear that I will protect the nation as people's president, so help me God", Odinga, who held a bible, said to the cheers of more than 15,000 people in Uhuru Park, next to Nairobi's main business district.

Fred Matiang'i, who is also the minister in charge of security, accused some elements in the media of facilitating the "illegal act", putting lives of thousands of Kenyans at risk.

Odinga said he felt vulnerable attending the "swearing-in" after his security was withdrawn.

Matiangi on Tuesday denounced the opposition's National Resistance Movement wing, tasked with implementing a threatened programme of boycotts and civil disobedience, as an "organised criminal group".

The International Council of Foreign Relations (ICFR) warned the disputed elections and the opposition's so-called swearing in of Odinga marked a point at which Kenya is more divided than at any time since the disastrous elections of 2007 when disputed elections morphed into ethnic conflict that left at least 1 500 people dead.

"It is not a political party".

Police later arrested Tom Kajwang, an opposition lawmaker who administered Odinga's "oath of office", James Orengo, an opposition senator, told Reuters. Peter Kaluma said opposition legislator and lawyer T.J. Kajwang was taken to the Nairobi's criminal investigations department for questioning.

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However, Kenya's editor's guild said in a statement on Monday that Kenyatta, in a private meeting with journalists and editors warned last Friday that he would shut down and revoke the licenses of any media house that broadcast Odinga's protest event.

"The complicity would have led to the deaths of innocent Kenyans due to the buildup of the incitement that was witnesses in early hours of the morning of 30 January 2018".

The government cut live transmission of the country's top three TV channels as a huge crowd of tens of thousands gathered in a Nairobi park for the event.

The 73-year-old Odinga called Tuesday's ceremony a step toward establishing a functioning democracy in Kenya, East Africa's economic hub, after months of political uncertainty.

The results of the presidential elections of Kenya were nullified by the supreme court, even after Uhuru Kenyatta had a 98% win.

Rights advocates accuse Kenyatta's administration of violating constitutionally guaranteed freedoms including those of assembly and expression.

Kenyan news broadcasters were taken off-air but were live streaming their coverage online.



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