Raila Amollo Odinga

The United States has criticized last week’s swearing in of Raila Amollo Odinga as ‘President of Kenya’.

‘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’, the US wrote in a statement.

The development comes in the wake of Odinga, a National Super Alliance (NASA) candidate in the August 8 2017 elections, saying he was robbed of victory by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

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The opposition candidate then boycotted a repeat election ordered by the Supreme Court, but Odinga vowed he would swear in as President.

In the statement, the US also takes swipe at President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government for shutting down media houses on January 30, the day Mr. Odinga was ‘sworn in’ at Uhuru Park in Nairobi.

‘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,’ the statement adds.

The US also urged the Kenyan government to allow the citizens ‘express their views freely’, further calling for a ‘national conversation to build cohesion and address long-standing issues’.