The Intransigence of Kenya’s Raila Odinga

Blog Post by John Campbell

Not only is opposition leader Raila Odinga refusing to recognize the presidency of Uhuru Kenyatta, sworn in on Tuesday, he has announced that he will be sworn in as “the people’s president” at a December 12 ceremony. The legal basis for the inauguration, he said, will be Article One of the Kenyan constitution, which states that sovereign power rests with the people. Odinga, leader of the opposition National Super Alliance (NASA), continues to insist that he won the original elections on August 8, in which Kenyatta was declared the victor. Those results were annulled by the supreme court, which judged that constitutional procedures had not been followed. Odinga boycotted the election rerun, which took place on October 26, resulting in Kenyatta winning some 98 percent of the vote amid 39 percent voter turnout (roughly half of what it was for the August election). Odinga denies that the most recent elections are legitimate. For his part, Kenyatta used rhetoric designed to unify at his inauguration, even as police broke up Odinga’s concurrent rally and prayer meeting with tear gas.

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