For Now, Odinga Backs Down in Kenya

News and Press Release
Originally published
View original

Blog Post by John Campbell

Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga's decision on December 10 to postpone his inauguration as the president of an alternative “People’s assembly” for Kenya has, at least for the time being, lowered the political temperature in the country. Odinga had announced that he would be sworn in as president in Mombasa on December 12, based on his claim to have won the original August 8 elections. Those elections, in which the election commission had certified Uhuru Kenyatta as the winner, were thrown out by the Supreme Court as not having followed all the constitutionally-mandated procedures. Odinga and opposition voters subsequently boycotted the election rerun in October and they do not recognize the legitimacy of Kenyatta’s victory. Following that election, Kenyatta was sworn in as president and has organized his administration. However, up to half of all Kenyans question or deny the legitimacy of his election and inauguration, according to polling. Spokesmen for the Kenyatta administration said that if Odinga proceeded with parallel inauguration, he would be committing treason, raising the possibility that Kenyatta might attempt to arrest him. In a bitterly divided Kenya, this could provoke widespread ethnic violence, even civil war. (Kenyatta is a Kikuyu, Odinga a Luo; both big ethnic groups are allied with smaller ones). Odinga is still saying that he will proceed with his inauguration, perhaps even before the end of he year.

Read the full article on CFR