Two media outfits have been ordered to shut down by the Kenyan government over plans to cover a gathering in Nairobi where opposition leader Raila Odinga plans to swear himself in as president.
Independently-owned Citizen Television and Radio stations said on Tuesday morning that authorities in Kenya forced them off the air to frustrate their plans of covering the event. “The Communications Authority of Kenya has switched off Citizen Television and Radio in most parts of the country over the coverage of the National Super Alliance (NASA) ‘swearing-in’ plan,” the Citizen website said. Earlier, several hundred supporters of Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga gathered at a park in downtown Nairobi, determined to “swear in as president” their leader who boycotted a re-run election in 2017.
President Uhuru Kenyatta was sworn in for a second term in November after winning the repeat presidential election in October that Odinga boycotted due to doubts it would be free and fair. Kenyatta had also been declared winner of the August election, but the Supreme Court later nullified that result, over irregularities. Odinga said the October election was “fake” and earlier said a “people’s assembly” would swear him in on Dec. 12. That did not happen, and a new event was planned for Tuesday. By 0600 GMT, about 400 people were gathered in Uhuru Park, near Nairobi’s main business district. Though the police had said they would prohibit any illegal assemblies on Tuesday, there were no uniformed police in the park and any anti-riot officers or vehicles. Local radio station Capital FM reported that supporters had been granted permission by Kenyan authorities to use the park.
Opposition supporters claim Odinga won the August vote. “The swearing in that will happen today is legitimate based on the Aug. 8, 2017 election. “Odinga is the one we recognise as the president and that is why we are swearing him in,” said Benta Akinyi, a 32-year old citizen gathered with the crowd.