Pomp and colour as Kenyans brave scorching heat to mark national day

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By James Ratemo

Jubilation, pomp and colour marked Kenya’s 46th birthday as Kenyans braved the scorching sun to devour the beauty that comes with the celebration.

Prime Minister, Raila Odinga accompanied by National Assembly Speaker and other dignitaries arrived at the stadium at 11.45 am without an announcement from the master of ceremonies.

Fifteen minutes later, President Kibaki and First Lady Lucy Kibaki arrived to a thunderous applause from a section of the audience and tunes from the police force band.

Aboard the official Commander-in-Chief landrover, the President drove round the stadium waving at the crowds.

Looking tired and hungry, some in the audience just looked at him while others waved back applauding and cheering.

Displayed antics

Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Speaker Kenneth Marende and Internal Security Minister George Saitoti at Madaraka Day celebration at Nyayo National Stadium, Nairobi, yesterday. [PHOTO: TABITHA OTWORI /STANDARD]

After inspecting the guard of honour, the Air Force displayed the usual tuko imara angani (we are stable on air) antics, which left the audience grinning with joy.

The marvellous swings and stunts of the jet fighters paved way to artistes who, amid jigs and shakes, echoed patriotic tunes.

‘Them Mushrooms’, award winning artist Susana Owiyo, Kenya Prison Choir and Sarakasi Acrobatic Group rounded up the entertainment session sending the audience into laughter. When Raila took the stage to invite Kibaki, his speaking antics ignited the audience into a thunderous applause.

“Tunataka kuangamiza ufisadi katika serikali…Mambo ya TKK hatutaki. Zamani ilikuwa ni TKK Toa Kitu Kidogo, TKK Toa Kitu Kikubwa halafu Toa Kila Kitu,” he said amid cheers.

Scout leaders

While introducing scout leaders, the master of ceremonies at one point refered to former House Speaker Francis ole Kaparo as the Speaker despite the conspicuous presence of the bonafide holder of the seat, Mr Kenneth Marende. Although the audience noted the oversight, the master of ceremonies did not rectify the mistake.

Some seats on the presidential dais were empty meaning some expected dignitaries did not turn up.

Dignitaries at the event included Deputy Prime Ministers Musalia Mudavadi and Uhuru Kenyatta, Cabinet Ministers George Saitoti (Internal Security), Najib Balala (Tourism), Noah Wekesa (Forestry), Njeru Githae (Metropolitan), Samuel Poghisio and John Michuki (Environment).

Total man

Others were former Cabinet minister, popularly known as ‘Total Man’ Nicholas Biwott, Ambassador Bethuel Kiplagat, Police Commissioner Hussein Ali, PSs, diplomats and senior Government officials.


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