Kenya opposition postpones “swearing-in” of alternative president


Kenya’s opposition postponed plans to swear in its leader Raila Odinga as an alternative president, easing political tensions and opening a window for talks with the government of President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Opposition coalition NASA had planned to publicly “inaugurate” Odinga at a rally on Tuesday, Kenyan Independence Day, in what the attorney general said would be an act of treason.

Kenyatta was re-elected as Kenya’s president with 98% of the vote in a repeat election on October 26 which Odinga boycotted. He beat Odinga in the original August poll, nullified by the Supreme Court on procedural grounds following opposition allegations of vote-rigging and other malpractices.

NASA said in a statement it would postpone the swearing-in after “consultations and engagement with a wide range of national and international interlocutors”. It did not name any mediators.

The coalition said it would announce a new date for the ceremony and the launch of its People’s Assembly “as well as a more vigorous and prolonged resistance”.

The plan to install Odinga as an alternative presiden threatened to exacerbate rifts opened by an acrimonious election season that left more than 70 people dead.

The United States urged opposition leaders to work within the law and avoid actions such as the proposed “inauguration ceremony.”