Nairobi, Kenya | THE INDEPENDENT | The United States has come out to warn that the decision by Raila Odinga to swear in as the people’s president this week undermines the Kenyan constitution.
“The United States is gravely concerned by Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga’s self-“inauguration” on January 30. We reject actions that undermine Kenya’s Constitution and the rule of law,” a statement from the US Department of State said on Thursday.
Kenyan opposition leader Odinga had himself sworn in as an alternative president Tuesday in front of thousands of supporters, three months after an election he claims was stolen from him.
Authorities have repeatedly warned that such an inauguration was treasonous and that Odinga could face arrest.
FULL US STATE DEPARTMENT STATEMENT
The United States is gravely concerned by Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga’s self-“inauguration” on January 30. We reject actions that undermine Kenya’s Constitution and the rule of law. Uhuru Kenyatta was elected as President of the Republic of Kenya on October 26, 2017 in a poll that was upheld by Kenya’s Supreme Court. Grievances must be resolved through appropriate legal mechanisms.
We commend the restraint shown by security forces and urge them to continue to refrain from any unnecessary or excessive use of force. Any arrests and prosecutions must be made in full accordance with the rule of law and demonstrate transparent due process. We urge all Kenyans to reject violence and hatred. Protesters have a right to assemble peacefully, to express their views freely, and to hold opinions without interference.
We are also deeply concerned by the Government’s action to shut down, intimidate, and restrict the media. Freedom of expression, including for members of the media, is essential to democracy and is enshrined in Kenya’s Constitution. We urge the Government and all Kenyans to respect freedom of expression and implement court orders calling for the restoration of television broadcasts.
We again urge Kenyan leaders and citizens to begin a national conversation to build cohesion and address long-standing issues. The United States continues to support efforts by religious, business, and civil society leaders to begin this conversation in the near future and calls on everyone to participate in this endeavor. The United States stands firmly with the people of Kenya; it is only Kenyans who can find a way to resolve their differences and chart the destiny of this great country.