Kenya declares Odinga's political party a criminal group

Kenya declares Odinga's political party a criminal group

Kerry Wise
February 1, 2018

The crackdown is said to have targeted broadcasters who defied a State House directive not to air live the swearing in of Raila Odinga as "People's President" at Uhuru Park.

"The consequences of Odinga's inauguration which government had warned against continue, even as major television stations remain switched off "until a full-scale investigation into a serious breach of security" is concluded", according to the country's interior minister Fred Matiang'i.

By Wednesday afternoon, independently-owned Citizen TV and Radio, KTN and NTV were still trying to find out from Kenyan authorities when the shutdown would end.

"There has been no meeting by the Kenya Editors' Guild Executive Committee to agree on, and issue the statement alleged to have been sent out by Kaikai", Maina said.

Rights groups on Wednesday criticised the Kenya government's move to block live coverage of a mock inauguration by the opposition as a "violation" of the public's right to information.

For some, it brought back memories of years of dictatorship in the 1980s and 1990s when heavy-handed government censorship was common.

Odinga said the vice president would be sworn in at a later date.

Matiangi said Odinga's swearing-in itself was also under investigation and that "appropriate legal action" would be taken.

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Kajwang was fully robed and had a lawyer's wig during Odinga's "swearing-in", a depiction interpreted to mean that he was acting as the oath administrator under Article 141 (1) of the Constitution.

The African Union (AU) and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) must step in to ensure that the self-proclamation of Raila Odinga and subsequent attempts to swear himself in as President of Kenya does not degenerate into chaos, CEO of Irbard Security Consult, Irbard Ibrahim has suggested.

Mr Odinga held his own "inauguration" after claiming he was the rightful victor of last year's election.

Uhuru Kenyatta won a repeat election in October, boycotted by Mr Odinga.

Mr Kenyatta's election victory in August was annulled by the Supreme Court over irregularities, but he then won a re-run, which Mr Odinga boycotted over a failure to revamp the electoral commission, and was sworn in for a second term in November.

Shortly after he spoke, opposition MP Tom Kajwang was arrested.

"NRM is a criminal organisation, not a political party, that is bent on mayhem and anarchy".

"We will not accept subversion and criminal acts disguised as political activities".