Kenya president Uhuru Kenyatta will today be sworn into office for his second and final term at the 60,000-seater Safaricom Stadium in Kasarani.
For a man whose election was annulled by the supreme court, bitterly returning to the voters for another round of persuasion and vote canvassing, today’s ceremony comes as a sigh of relief for East Africa’s biggest economy and the son of Kenya’s founding father Jomo Kenyatta.
And yet all is not well as his arch rival Raila Odinga of the National Super Alliance (Nasa) potentially poses a headache for the police and Kenyatta.
Mr Odinga who shunned the fresh election after bagging an unprecedented election petition victory now vows to hold a parallel event to pay tribute to Kenyans killed by the police as they participated in a march to welcome him home after a 10-day expedition to the United States and Europe.
Addressing his supporters at Mlolongo on the Nairobi-Mombasa highway on Saturday, Mr Odinga said, “We are mourning, and on the other side, Uhuru is preparing a feast, a ceremony.”
“Those who will go to Kasarani are stupid, as all patriotic Kenyans will be at Jacaranda mourning our people brutally killed by this regime,’’ the Daily Nation quoted him.
He added, “They should have shot me instead; that would have been better. If they did not want me to come, they should have asked me to stay in the US.
“But they knew I was coming, they let me do it, and when excited young people came to welcome me back they shot them dead like thieves.
“What kind of government is that? Uhuru and (Deputy President William) Ruto should be charged at The Hague for these crimes against humanity.”
Kenyatta’s swearing in rekindles memories of one of his own guests, President Museveni of Uganda who in 2011 was sworn in as police battled supporters of Dr Kizza Besigye who returned to Kampala from Nairobi where he had travelled for treatment after a near fatal incident at the Mulago round about in which a trigger happy security operative, one Gilbert Arinaitwe Bwana brutally assaulted him with a pistol and pepper spray.
Dr Besigye was dashed to Nairobi for medical attention and timed his return to coincide with his former army commander and patient’s swearing-in ceremony.
As the president took oath, police battled the Forum for Democratic Change kingpin whose legion of admirers poured onto the streets right from Entebbe airport to give the country’s second most influ
influential leader a heroic welcome.
One bodaboda rider was shot dead when he disrupted a convoy of former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan en route Entebbe airport after the event at Kololo Independence Grounds while international media headlines focused on the bloodied scenes following police’s suppression of Besigye’s procession with Museveni’s swearing in playing second fiddle in the news.
If Raila’s event goes on as planned today, Kenyatta will be swearing-in amid echoes of disapproval from a section of his opponent’s supporters as President Museveni walks down the dark alley of bloodied memories that accompanied his own swearing-in ceremony in 2011 as Dr Besigye too jogs his own memory on his return that overshadowed the official assumption of office of a man he accused of snatching his victory.