NAIROBI – Kenya’s re-elected President Uhuru Kenyatta was sworn in on Tuesday for a second term in a ceremony held in the capital Nairobi amid simmering opposition protests.
Kenyatta’s inauguration took place in Kasarani Stadium, where thousands of citizens gathered to watch the ceremony attended by 13 African heads of state as well as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“I undertake to be the custodian of the dreams of all, and to be the keeper of the aspirations of those who voted for me and those who did not. I will be the president of all. And I will devote my time and energy to build bridges to unite and bring prosperity to all Kenyans,” Kenyatta said during his speech.
“The law should be the refuge for every Kenyan. None of us should break outside the law, or constitutional order, whatever our grievances or protestations,” he added.
As witnessed by an epa photographer, supporters of the opposition National Super Alliance coalition (NASA) tried to cause disorder outside the stadium by rushing into the venue and throwing stones before the beginning of the ceremony.
Kenyan police prevented any access to the ceremony by firing tear gas to disperse the opposition protesters, who were commemorating the lives of those killed during confrontations with the police in previous protests.
Despite the government’s reaction to the resistance by the opposition, NASA’s head of secretariat Norman Magaya asserted, “We will never succumb to the mechanization of an illegitimate president. The people will reign.”
NASA boycotted the Oct. 26 re-run elections after the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission did not carry out the reforms demanded by the opposition to ensure that the irregularities found in the Aug. 8 elections would not be repeated.
Kenya has been rocked by a series of deadly protests, led by NASA leader Raila Odinga, after the Supreme Court annulled the first poll and called for a new election to be held to rectify the first one.
President Kenyatta, who is due to remain in power until 2022, won the re-run elections with more than 98 percent of the vote, but with a turnout of only 39 percent of eligible Kenyans.