Millennium Post

Kenyatta sworn in as Kenya's prez after oppn rally is hit by tear gas

NAIROBI: Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta was sworn in for a second term on Tuesday amid thunderous applause of supporters even as pro-government forces fired on protesters angered by the contentious election process that kept him in power.

The inauguration capped an incredibly fraught few months for Kenya that saw an election where results were annulled, weeks of unrest, an opposition boycott and finally a new election that gave Kenyatta 98 percent of the vote, but with a turnout of less than 40 percent.
Even as Kenyatta was sworn in, police across town opened fire on opposition demonstrators, with reports of at least one dead. An impromptu rally later by opposition leader Raila Odinga was also hit by tear gas, forcing his abrupt retreat to his vehicle.
Kenyatta took the oath on the same Bible used by his father — Kenya's first president, Jomo Kenyatta in 1964 — and the capacity crowd erupted into cheers in the 60,000 seat Kasarani Stadium decked out in the red and gold of Kenyatta's party. Neighboring heads of state looked on, including the leaders of Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan.
In his speech, Kenyatta noted that the past few months "have been a trying time" but assured the country that the elections "are now firmly behind us."
So many people tried to push into the stadium for the event that police had to fire tear gas outside the venue to control the crowd. "This is the day that we have been waiting for. It's finally here. Our God had done this for us. The elections have tormented and almost destroyed our country. We hope that this will be the beginning of a new chapter," said 30-year-old businessman Marvin Muriithi Munyua. "Let's now focus on our country."
The extended election season stretching from August until the inauguration exacerbated the deep divisions in Kenya. Support for Kenyatta and his opponent, Odinga, broke along on ethnic lines. The business community also backed Odinga while many in more marginalized regions turned to Odinga to stem the endemic corruption in the country. Odinga attempted to stage a parallel prayer rally during the inauguration for those killed during the election-related violence. Some 70 people are estimated to have died in confrontations with police over the past few months.
The government declared the rally illegal and blocked the roads leading to the Jacaranda grounds, preventing it from taking place.
Residents of the area said police used live fire to disperse protesters. The residents held up spent cartridges as evidence that gunfire was used. At least one body could be seen.
The crowd chanted "Uhuru must go" and "Thief."
Supporters barricaded streets in the neighborhood with stones and said the forces attacking them were the Mungiki, a pro-government gang, rather than police.

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