Security Tightened In Kenya For President Kenyatta's Swearing-In

Nov 28, 2017
Originally published on November 28, 2017 11:07 am
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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Let's turn now to Kenya following a prolonged and violent presidential election - well, actually two presidential elections. Kenya's incumbent president, Uhuru Kenyatta, was sworn in for a second term today. NPR's Eyder Peralta was there watching the ceremony. He joins us from our bureau in Nairobi. Hey, Eyder.

EYDER PERALTA, BYLINE: Hey, David.

GREENE: So you've been describing as you've been reporting on this two incredibly different scenes - a peaceful inauguration and then tensions and violence elsewhere in the city. Just bring this - bring us up to speed here.

PERALTA: Yeah. I mean, this morning at Kasarani stadium here in Nairobi, there were tens of thousands of people who came to watch President Uhuru Kenyatta be inaugurated. I mean, we got a sort of sense of just how massive this crowd was that police had to stop people from coming in by using tear gas. But then, you know, as the ceremony went on, we started hearing word that stuff around the city just a few miles from the stadium was not going well at all, that police were battling with protesters. There's been reports that police have used live fire on protesters. And so you had this scene at the stadium full of celebration and this president saying that Kenya should come together and, you know, avoid being cynical and avoid being pessimist. And then just outside the stadium you had chaos.

GREENE: Yeah, it sounds that way. And there's a real question of legitimacy for this new president, right? I mean, the opposition leader, Raila Odinga, who has been challenging the results of these elections, says he expects to be seated as president in December. What is - where is this going?

PERALTA: That's right. That's what he said. And I think legal scholars will tell you that Raila Odinga, the opposition leader, doesn't really have a leg to stand on here. The Supreme Court has upheld two - or the second victory of Uhuru Kenyatta. And what he is saying, however, is that these second elections were just as problematic as the first ones. And he pulled out of these elections, and they were marked by lots of violence and a very low turnout. So he says that Uhuru Kenyatta is not legitimate and that he will be sworn in.

GREENE: NPR's Eyder Peralta in Nairobi. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.