Updated at 5:40 a.m. ET
Police in the Kenyan capital fired tear gas to hold back crowds trying to force their way into a sports stadium to attend the inauguration of President Uhuru Kenyatta to a second term. Elsewhere in the city, police were taking similar measures to put down anti-Kenyatta protests.
According to The Associated Press: “Police patrolled the Jacaranda grounds where the leading opposition group, the National Super Alliance, had urged supporters to gather to remember those killed in post-election protests since August.”
The enthusiasm shown by Kenyatta’s supporters masks a deep divide in Kenya between the man who is the son of Kenya’s founding father and opposition leader Raila Odinga, the son of the country’s first vice president.
NPR’s Eyder Peralta, attending the inauguration ceremonies in Nairobi, tells Morning Edition, “You can can hear the celebration here, but just a few miles away from here, police are using teargas against [anti-Kenyatta] protesters.”
Kenyatta overwhelmingly won a presidential election last month that was first boycotted and then unsuccessfully challenged in court by Odinga.
The violence that has surrounded the polls is also seen as a challenge to the United States, which has come to rely on Kenya as a front-line state in the fight against terrorism.
Odinga, who called Tuesday’s inauguration at Kasarani Stadium a “coronation,” has vowed not to accept the results of the Oct. 26 poll, which itself was a redo of an Aug. 8 election that was ruled unconstitutional by the country’s Supreme Court. Despite its ruling on the August election, last week the high court declined to accept a challenge to the latest poll, sealing Kenyatta’s victory.
Organizers were reportedly expecting some 60,000 people to attend the inauguration, with jumbo screens erected outside the stadium to accommodate overflow.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and Rwandan President Paul Kagame were all expected to attend the ceremony.