Unusual calm in strongholds as celebrations rock other regions

Tuesday November 28 2017

President Uhuru Kenyatta sworn in

Kisii County residents celebrate as President Uhuru Kenyatta is sworn in at Kasarani Stadium, Nairobi, on November 28, 2017. They had gathered at Nyabururu TTC Hall. PHOTO | BENSON MOMANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Most towns in Nyanza and Western regions remained calm as President Uhuru Kenyatta was sworn in in Nairobi on Tuesday.

This is despite the regions being opposition strongholds and the centre of deadly riots following the disputed results in the August 8 and October 26 elections.

In Kisumu, Kakamega and Kisii, there was no police presence despite previous unconfirmed reports of truckloads of anti-riot police arriving in the towns a day to the swearing-in ceremony.

In Migori, however, there was tension amid fears of possible chaos.

Security had been beefed up in the border town and officers strategically placed along the main streets.

A spot check by the Nation in Kisumu revealed that some shops were closed.

Most residents interviewed expressed their displeasure over the inauguration, saying they did not recognise President Kenyatta as their leader.


Others said many people had died in election protests and, therefore, Kenyans should have mourned them instead of attending the swearing-in.

“It is a sad day for Kenya and I don’t see any reason to celebrate democracy that has been subverted,” Ms Lydia Oginga, a businesswoman, said.

“We are still waiting for Raila Odinga’s directive.”

She condemned the move by police to cordon off Jacaranda, Nairobi — the planned venue of the Opposition-led prayer rally to mourn their supporters allegedly killed by police at protests.

Anger and despair were palpable among some of the opposition supporters in Migori as they described President Kenyatta as an “illegitimate” president.

“Today is a sad day for Kenya,” Mr Duncan Karani, a resident of Migori, declared.

“Electoral injustice has just been entrenched with the swearing-in of President Kenyatta.

“The October 26 election was a sham yet the winner was declared and sworn in. It is a big mockery of our democracy.”

Mr Joel Onyango said it was unfortunate that more than 60 per cent of Kenyans did not vote yet a president was declared out of the exercise.

“Do we say, then, we have a president?” Mr Onyango posed. “He is a president of Jubilee Party.”

However,?there were celebrations in Kuria, an area perceived to be a Jubilee stronghold, with residents expressing happiness that President Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto had finally taken the oath of office.

“I am happy that Mr Kenyatta has finally been sworn in. Let the country now move forward.

“We in Kuria now expect the President to fulfil the pledges he made to us. We expect one of our own in the Cabinet,” Mr Chacha Rioba from Kegonga, Kuria East, said.

Several residents from Kuria West and Kuria East were transported to the Kasarani stadium to represent the region.

Ntimaru East ward representative Augustine Mwera asked Nasa to accept their election loss.

“The swearing-in of the President and his deputy should bring to an end the incessant politicking that we have witnessed for the last one year,” Mr Mwera said.

“It is time to work and Nasa should join hands with the Jubilee government to move the nation forward.”

Kuria East MP Marwa Kitayama and his Kuria West colleague Mathias Robi, speaking to the Nation on the phone, congratulated President Kenyatta and Mr Ruto.

“I congratulate the President and his deputy,” Mr Kitayama, who also called on the President to dialogue with Nasa leader Odinga for national reconciliation and peace, said.

“As Kuria community, we are ready to work with the government.”

Officials in charge of Jubilee’s campaigns in Kisii County asked President Kenyatta to ensure jobs for the community.


The chairman of the secretariat, Mr Steve Arika, said the President can now confidently exercise his role and pleaded with him to appoint more leaders from the region to the Cabinet.

“We are grateful that we have Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i and Principal Secretary Susan Mochache, but we deserve more State jobs for the support we gave him,” he said.

He spoke at Nyabururu Teachers Training College, where hundreds of Jubilee supporters assembled to watch the fete on giant screens.

“The next agenda for the President is to unite Kenyans, his supporters and those from the Opposition so that the country can move forward,” he said.

Speaking separately, Kitutu Chache South MP Richard Onyonka called on the President to unite the country.

He asked him to listen to Nasa leader Odinga, whom he said had raised genuine concerns.

Former chairman of the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution, Mr Charles Nyachae, was optimistic, saying the economy will blossom under Jubilee.

Former Woman Representative Mary Otara said “dialogue between Mr Odinga and President Kenyatta may help to push the country away from the existing political tension”.

North Mugirango MP Joash Nyamoko praised the President’s speech, saying he had set the tone for the country to move forward.

Reports by Vivevere Nandiemo, Rushdie Oudia, Elisha Otieno, Benson Amadala, Magati Obebo, Elgar Machuka, Nyaboga Kiage and Ruth Mbula