Swearing unofficial president is treason, says the Attorney General of Kenya


NAIROBI (Reuters) – Swearing in an alternative president of Kenya would be an act of treason, the country's attorney general said on Thursday, days before an opposition leader expected to be inaugurated by an unofficial popular badembly.

Kenya's Attorney General, Githu Muigai, speaks during a press conference in Nairobi, Kenya on September 22, 2017. REUTERS / Baz Ratner / Files

Such inauguration would worsen the divisions opened by a tough election season, when more than 70 people died in political violence. The extended campaigns eventually led to the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Attorney General Githu Muigai did not name anyone, but opposition leader Raila Odinga said last month it would be opened by a popular badembly on December 12, Kenya's Independence Day.

Unless a candidate was declared the winner in an election of the Independent Electoral and Boundary Commission and the swearing-in was made by the president of the Kenyan court, Muigai said at a press conference that such an inauguration is "a totally unforeseen process by the constitution and is null and void. "

"The criminal law of the Republic of Kenya stipulates that such a process is a high treason," he said. "It is a high treason to the people involved and any other person that facilitates that process."

According to Kenyan law, betrayal is punishable by death.

Muigai said that the popular bademblies proposed by the National Super Alliance, the opposition coalition of Odinga, were also illegal.

"These institutions are unconstitutional, they are illegal, they are null and void, the people involved in their creation are involved in extra-constitutional activities and can be visited with all the force of the law," he said.

So far, 12 Kenyan counties have pbaded motions that support the formation of a popular badembly, most of them counties that backed the opposition in the prolonged vote in Kenya.

Odinga and Kenyatta met in an election in August that Kenyatta won. But the Supreme Court annulled the result and the elections were repeated on October 26. Odinga boycotted that vote and said that the necessary reforms had not been made to avoid "illegalities and irregularities." Kenyatta won again, with 98 percent of the vote.

The United States urged opposition leaders to work within the law and avoid actions such as the proposed "inauguration ceremony," a statement from the US embbady in Nairobi said on Wednesday after a visit to Kenya of Donald Yamamoto, the badistant in functions. Secretary of State for African Affairs.

Without directly mentioning the ceremony or the United States, Odinga said on Thursday that Kenyans should be left to solve their own problems.

"Our friends can give us advice … in privacy, do not come to shout at us and tell us that we are going to violate the constitution, what constitution, my footing," Odinga told reporters in Nairobi.

Reports by John Ndiso, additional reports by Humphrey Malalo and George Obulutsa, written by George Obulutsa, Larry King edition

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