Kenyan government accused of media crackdown in wake of opposition mock inauguration

01 February, 2018, 00:31 | Author: Julio Duncan
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Uhuru Kenyatta won a re-run in October, but Mr Odinga did not take part.

As thousands of people gathered in Uhuru Park, near Nairobi's main business district, authorities began to force independent television and radio stations reporting on the gathering off air, several outlets said - the first such closures for about a decade.

Kenyatta was inaugurated in November, and Kenya Attorney-General Githu Muigai warned that an opposition group swearing in a president who's not officially been declared the victor is high treason - an offense that can result in death.

According to Kenya's editors' guild, the government had threatened to shut down and revoke licenses of media houses that broadcast the event.

The 73-year-old Odinga took an oath holding a Bible over his head, amid cheers.

The swearing-in of Raila Odinga and Musyoka was initially scheduled for December 12 in Mombasa, one of the opposition strongholds.

A series of clashes occurred through the tense election period, with almost 100 killed, according to the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights.

"There was no comment from the government when the action was taken, and there's been none since", said Wachira Waruru, managing director of Royal Media Services, which owns Citizen TV and Radio.

The spokesperson for the Ministry of Interior, Mwenda Njoka, reportedly said the stations' transmissions were cut due to "security concerns", which he said, the government was not obliged to explain.

The best thing would be reconciliation between Kenyatta and Odinga but given the pair's political history, that is very unlikely, said Cilliers. Odinga signed an oath administered by a Commissioner and immediately change his social media accounts to reflect his new status.

"Odinga voluntarily withdrew from the election, which election did he win that he is declaring himself president?"

The East African country's Supreme Court annulled August's presidential election result saying the electoral commission committed "irregularities and illegalities" during the vote, harming the integrity of the election.

KTN News, NTV and Citizen Television stations were shut down by the Communication Authority of Kenya early Tuesday morning minutes after they had started airing the event.

Anther opposition supporter, vegetable seller Lilian Ondiek, 27, said she woke up at 4 attend the event.


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