Odinga calls for 'mass action'

2007-12-31 17:58

Nairobi - Kenya's defeated presidential challenger Raila Odinga on Monday postponed for three days an announced rally to declare himself head of state and called for "peaceful mass action" to quell serious bloodshed as riots over allegedly rigged elections flared across the country.

"We are calling for mass action, peaceful mass action. We will all the time inform the police of what is going to happen and there will be a peaceful procession," Odinga told a press conference in the capital.

Odinga rejected the outcome and initially announced a mass rally on Monday to present himself to the nation as "the People's President", but police warned he would be arrested if he did given the security situation.

The veteran opposition leader said the rally has been postponed to Thursday because of a post-electoral ban clamped on live broadcasting and would now constitute a "one million people meeting" in Nairobi's main central park.

"The media was completely muzzled, particularly the local media. The information did not reach all the people," Odinga said.

"All the information that went out went out by word of mouth. We are going to have a bigger meeting in Nairobi, one million people meeting at Uhuru Park on Thursday."

At least 124 people have been killed in clashes since Thursday's election in the east African nation, which led to widespread allegations of rigging before President Mwai Kibaki was sworn in for a second term on Sunday.

More than 100 people died in overnight violence in western Kenya and in a Nairobi slum, where riots erupted within minutes of the electoral commission's announcement of Kibaki's win at the polls.