Former Kenyan VP: Home attacked in "assassination attempt"

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Former Kenyan VP: Home attacked in assassination
Supporters of opposition leader Raila Odinga, one wearing a mask, attend a mock "swearing-in" ceremony at Uhuru Park in downtown Nairobi, Kenya Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018. Odinga was sworn-in as "the people's president" during a mock "inauguration", in protest of President Uhuru Kenyatta's new term following the divisive 2017 election, and despite the government's warning that the event would be considered treason. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Former Kenyan Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka said Wednesday gunshots were fired at his home and a grenade detonated in what was “an assassination attempt.”

Musyoka told The Associated Press by phone Wednesday the attack occurred hours after his police security was withdrawn and he had been blocked from attending a mock inauguration of opposition leader Raila Odinga on Tuesday in protest of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s new term after months of deadly election turmoil.

Musyoka was to take the oath as Odinga’s deputy president in the mock inauguration. “The motive was clearly political,” he said describing as “shocking” the 1 a.m. blast.

He said after his police security was withdrawn he felt vulnerable and hired a private security firm. “I knew we were vulnerable but I didn’t think they would strike that fast,” he said. He said the private security firm vehicle parked in front of his gate may have dissuaded the attackers from getting in the house.

On Tuesday, the government cut live transmission of the country’s top three TV channels as a huge crowd of tens of thousands gathered in a Nairobi park for the mock inauguration. Kenyatta had “expressly threatened to shut down and revoke the licenses of any media house” that aired live broadcasts, the Kenya Editors Guild said in a statement.

The 73-year-old Odinga took an oath holding a Bible over his head, amid cheers. The opposition leader called the ceremony a step toward establishing a functioning democracy in Kenya, East Africa’s economic hub.

“We are seeing the return of an authoritarian, imperial presidency in our country and rule by fiat, and this must be resisted,” he told the Kenya Television Network ahead of the ceremony. Afterward, he updated his Twitter profile to call himself “President of the Republic of Kenya.”

Hours later, the government outlawed the opposition’s National Resistance Movement, with Interior Minister Fred Matiangi declaring it an organized criminal group. Membership in such a group can lead to imprisonment up to 10 years under Kenyan law.

The mock ceremony came after months of political uncertainty. Kenya’s Supreme Court nullified the August election after Odinga claimed that hackers infiltrated the electoral commission’s computer system and changed results in favor of Kenyatta.

The ruling was the first time a court had overturned a presidential election in Africa. The court cited irregularities and illegalities and said it ruled against Kenyatta because the electoral commission refused to open its computer system for court scrutiny.

The court ordered a fresh election in October that Kenyatta won and Odinga boycotted, claiming a lack of electoral reforms.

Last week the opposition released what it called “authentic” election results showing Odinga won the August vote, but it refused to say how it obtained the information from the electoral commission’s computer servers. The electoral commission called those results “fake.”

Police at first had vowed to block opposition supporters from attending Tuesday’s ceremony, leading to fears of violence.