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Kenya's opposition National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition leader Raila Odinga holds up a bible as he swears himself in on January 30, 2018, in Nairobi. Photo: Patrick Meinhardt / AFP / Getty Images

Kenyan opposition candidate Raila Odinga had himself sworn in as the “people’s president” on January 30 in the presence of thousands of supporters in downtown Nairobi's Uhuru Park and despite threats of retribution by President Uhuru Kenyatta. Shortly afterward, the administration declared Odinga’s National Resistance Movement (NRM) an “organized criminal group” open to charges of treason.

The backdrop: The current political impasse follows two disputed elections and associated judicial decisions. At the end of a convoluted process, Kenyatta, the incumbent, was declared the winner. However, Odinga and his supporters, up to half of the electorate, reject this outcome.

The dispute between Kenyatta and Odinga is both a personal feud and an ethnic one. Kenyatta is personally wealthy and is seen as the face of big businesses. As the son of Jomo Kenyatta, who led the liberation struggle against the British and became Kenya’s first president, he is also an avatar of the Kikuyu tribe. Odinga, though nearly as wealthy as Kenyatta, appeals chiefly to the poor in Nairobi's slums, as well as the Luo ethnic group and others who feel marginalized. He is the son of Oginga Odinga, who was Kenya’s (and Jomo Kenyatta’s) first vice president.

[UNSUPPORTED BLOCK TYPE: axiom]

John Campbell is the Ralph Bunche Senior Fellow for Africa Policy Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Go deeper

House passes $1.9 trillion COVID relief package

Photo: Screenshot via C-SPAN

The House approved President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief package on a 219-212 vote early Saturday morning, sending it to the Senate for a possible rewrite before it gets to Biden's desk.

The big picture: The vote was a critical first step for the package, which includes $1,400 cash payments for many Americans, a national vaccination program, ramped-up COVID testing and contact tracing, state and local funding and money to help schools reopen.

8 hours ago - Health

Biden says it's "not the time to relax" after touring vaccination site

President Biden speaking after visiting a FEMA Covid-19 vaccination facility in Houston on Feb. 26. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Friday that "it's not the time to relax" coronavirus mitigation efforts and warned that the number of cases and hospitalizations could rise again as new variants of the virus emerge.

Why it matters: Biden, who made the remarks after touring a vaccination site in Houston, echoed CDC director Rochelle Walensky, who said earlier on Friday that while the U.S. has seen a recent drop in cases and hospitalizations, "these declines follow the highest peak we have experienced in the pandemic."

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

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