Police and protestors clashed in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi on Tuesday, as Uhuru Kenyatta was sworn in as president for his second and final five-year term, AFP reported.
Kenya has been deeply divided after two disputed polls – Kenyatta, 56, was officially re-elected with 98% of the vote on October 26, but only around 35% of voters had turned out. The elections were first held on August 8, but had to be held again after the country’s Supreme Court annulled the results over irregularities, BBC reported.
Security was stepped up on Tuesday as foreign and local dignitaries arrived at the Kasarani stadium in Nairobi for the swearing-in ceremony, and the opposition attempted a “memorial rally” for the 50 people killed, mostly by police, in four months of political upheaval. The police fired tear gas and allegedly beat the protestors, according to the AFP report. At the stadium, a crowd of Kenyatta’s supporters tried to force their way into the venue, again prompting the police to fire tear gas.
Joseph Irungu from the interior ministry planning committee said there was space outside the stadium for 40,000 people to watch the event on big screens. But no screens were provided, which angered the crowd.
The opposition National Super Alliance coalition has described Tuesday’s inauguration as a “despotic coronation”.
Among those attending the ceremony are presidents of South Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Zambia and Somalia, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and foreign ministers and special envoys of other African nations, Qatar, Serbia, Ukraine and the United Arab Emirates.